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Our little Dutch sceptic community gave blogger and nature photographer Rypke Zeilmaker 1000 euro for his one thousandth blog posting to buy a new camera with which he now very sustainably shoots fabulous “localy produced” images. 62 investors amongst whom a number of government institutions gave 18.800 euro’s to professional adventurer and “climate journalist” Bernice Notenboom who in order to portrait the “final meltdown of the arctic” set-up an expedition with massive CO2-emissions. Of course the Al Gore effect set-in and the expedition failed bitterly.

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The expedition’s name is reminiscent of Mao’s Long March. Since the environmental movement is bad at most things but excels in marketing and PR this connotation must have been purposeful. The choice must have more to do with left wing affiliation then with the endurance characteristics. The Long March lasted 270 days and covered 9000 kilometers. The Arctic March started at the Northpole (gee how did they get there with their 167kg of luggage – bicycle?). The planned route is just 800km to the Canadian coast to be covered in 51 days. The epic fail happened after days in blizzards and poor visibility with the ice drifting them east rather than west. But why not simply continue? Only 194 km between them and the coast. Ahhh they had to be picked up before May 12th by Ken Borek Air since after that date the ice strip is no longer trustworthy. Airplanes again! Why not continue over land and travel light and learn from the Inuit like Amundsen on his Northwest Passage Expedition that lasted 3 years from 1903 to 1906. I bet their expedition gear wasn’t half as comfortable.

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Ms. Notenboom is very saddened that her expedition could not finish (her male expedition guide less so since they had trekked there many times already). But surely the investors will get value for money since a documentary will still be produced anyway probably urging more investors to jopin in next time. The English expedition blog is interesting fodder for psychologists today and historians in the future. Just a quote from a few days ago:

We all feel frustrated. We make no progress, the mixture of pressure ridges and the many leads in flat light makes not only challenging but dangerous. The Arctic is a grim place when it is like this and offer no solace for the mind or soul. It loses all its attractiveness and turns hostile if you let it get to you. No wonder early explorers suffered from bouts of depression when they had to deal with conditions like these. I wonder if a doses of prozac will make it better out here if you need to get rid of the polar blues for a day.

Then in the midst of a pressure ridge you find an amazing piece of multiyear ice, with different bands of colour, algae and icicles. This piece is at least a few years old and hopefully will survive this summer melt. The block of ice reminds me of a humpback whale when it emerges from the water, and you see the baleen hanging of it. That was all I needed today, a reminder how precious The Arctic really is.

So here we have it! The ice is alive, it has a soul and is very fragile! What’s next? Ice block hugging?

Well for all that planting frenzy: at least the trees of the world are thankful for all that CO2 emitted! More expeditions to go, more investor money to get wasted. And I challenge Ms. Notenboom if she’ll manage to take a single locally produced photo that is even nearly as beautiful as Mr. Zeilmakers photo’s. About one thing the Scandinavian person in the video above is right: Ms. Notenboom should just shut up!

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