Expedition Leader Report
It is another gorgeous day. We've just had some breakfast had are getting ready to spend the morning and early afternoon here in Pond before we catch our flight to Iqaluit at 3:00pm. We have some special things planned here in Pond today, including a performance from some local students.
I spoke with some elders this morning, and they said that they think the ice is going to break up sooner this year. Maybe in the next few weeks, which is earlier than normal. They used to be able to go to the floe edge until mid-July. This year it might be end of June. We are probably the last group to visit the floe edge this year, except for some hunters. Certainly, the signs and impacts of climate change are clear. More on this later.
Note - The students wrote some journals, but we can't find the bag with the powercords for the laptops, so we can't download them. Hopefully it will turn up and we'll get some student journals posted later today!!
Got to run!! See everyone soon! Geoff
Impressions of the Floe Edge Expedition 2006
This trip truly has been an amazing, eye-opening experience. From the thrill of seeing beluga whales and polar bears first-hand, to speaking and joking with the Inuit guides, to the challenges and responsibilities that are a part of camping there on the ice, every day was filled with moments of joy and fun. Furthermore, I have met so many amazing and diverse people who I am sure I will remain in touch with for many years to come. I am so grateful I could be a part of this expedition!
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This trip was an awe-inspiring experience. I met people that I never thought I could relate to and saw things I didn’t think existed on earth. Not only did the lectures we had teach me new ways to see familiar things but from every laugh to every thought was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I have traveled a lot and seen beautiful things but never has a single week inspired and altered me as much as this. The “counsellors” were mentors and showed me an amount of passion that I never thought could exist in a single individual. They shared with us their dream and their hope as well as their reality. As for the floe edge itself; it is the most amazing place. It is while being very spiritual, is also the most magical place I have ever seen. This whole experience has made me want to change the life I am living and be proud of our earth. I have never been more shocked, inspired, altered or touched by anything else I have ever experienced. I just can’t believe I had the honour of seeing it.
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This trip was undoubtedly the best experience of my life thus far, and I’m still trying to digest what I’ve done. I had such a great time camping out on the ice, meeting new people and exploring the surrounding areas and hanging out at the flow edge. The wildlife we saw was incredible, and the scenery was indescribable. I can’t believe that in 50 years it might all be gone, and this trip has inspired me to do all that I can to keep the Arctic the way it is. It’s too wonderful a place to just let die. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but I WILL be back.
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Currently in transit south, back to the world of communication, technology, consumerism, irrationality and constant rush, from a world of peace where everything seems to have a specific purpose and to simply make sense… and ironically or not, a place where the existing civilization that does exist has a different drive than our ‘bigger equals better’ motive and the basic need for survival and the essence of basic life education is understood as the real essentials. And it’s saddening to see this understanding disappear with a growing southern influence on the north… on both the culture of the Inuit people and the land itself as well. I’m taking a bold step to conclude that the most important aspect this experience has given me is the ability to feel climate change and our global crisis at a personal level. Being able to really feel the issue at a personal level has only instigated a greater passion and drive in me. Though I am boggled by the plentiful opportunities of our youth generation, I am also feeling a greater sense of optimism in regards to the future of our environment. Though I’ve seen and learned about the immensity and severity of this rapid increase in rate of climate change, I have also met a group of keen and passionate learners and future-leaders as well as met a group of the most inspiring educators. Without the support and confidence of these educators and of the ‘adult’ generation, the youth will not have a stepping point to spring from and create change. This trip has proven that climate change exists at a serious level and has inspired me to become an environmental leader on my return home: an obligation I believe I have now for the rest of my life.
I thank all supporters and Geoff and Diz foremost for giving me this mind-opening and inspiring opportunity, which has transformed my mentality, now wearing a pair of green shades, for the rest of my life.
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Inspiration and a feeling of gratefulness overwhelm me. The journey was unforgettable from the conversations we had, the mountains we climbed, the komatiks we rode, the cracks we crossed (or fell into!), the sounds of nature we heard, the lessons we learned, and the simple beauty of nature we witnessed. Visiting the bird cliff during our expedition was like visiting a City of Birds; the caves were filled with their music and all that one can see on the cliffs and the surrounding air were white kittiwakes that looked like flying snowflakes. Stunning, breathtaking, and absolutely humbling.
Thanks to the Inuit guides who were so kind to share their culture with us, to Geoff and Diz for moving the “flow,” David for sharing his endless knowledge of the area, Ingrid (the smart and beautiful), Eric (the funniest), Drew (the caretaker), Lee (the amazing), and to all the students who were so intelligent, kind, caring, and humorous. Finally and most importantly, thanks to my parents and all my loved ones for the endless support. Alhamdolillah (Arabic for Thank God).