VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
By Margaret Williams
Over and over again, science is showing us that the Arctic is in big trouble due to climate change. Air temperatures are warming, sea ice is decreasing, permafrost is thawing, and communities and wildlife are feeling the impacts. But the most concerning fact of all? If the Arctic is in trouble, we’re all in trouble.
“No amount of studies I’d read could prepare me for landing on a beach with no other humans in sight and cleaning up kilo after kilo of waste, so much of it miniscule.”—Maya Weeks
We believe the White House Arctic Science Ministerial on September 28, the first event of its kind, is a special opportunity to bring attention to and focus on the ever-evolving challenges and opportunities facing citizens of the North and throughout the world. It’s a chance to put science ministers, Indigenous leaders, researchers and policy makers into the same room to make sure that we tackle the right issues, gather and share the right information and create the right tools so that Arctic communities and researchers will work together to meet sustainability challenges.
Polar expeditions to explore the ocean are not for the faint of heart. Above the water’s surface, you better be on alert for polar bears. Below, you better be game for diving 60 feet under sea ice into freezing temperatures. Watch National Geographic grantee Branwen Williams lead a team to the Canadian Arctic to do both in an effort to better understand how our oceans and the climate are changing over time.
In the final stretch of the season’s excavations, Tanja becomes super excited when she discovers a jaw piece of an Omphalosaurus—a strange reptile that would shock dentists round the world.
What better place to say your vows than surrounded by your best friends and sea monster fossils on a nearly frozen island?
Thousands of beluga whales congregate in Canada’s Cunningham Inlet each summer for what National Geographic Young Explorer and nature photographer Nansen Weber calls “a big beluga party.” Using a drone, Weber captures the breathtaking view from above.
After photographer Cory Richards joined the Pristine Seas expedition to Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic, he spent over a month trying to capture an image of a polar bear from a relatively close distance. On his final attempt, a teammate launched a remote-controlled quadcopter, or drone, and the polar bear ended up right where they wanted him.