Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day #4 on the Tundra with Kathryn, our Arctic Explorer!


Today was a bright an early morning for all of u as we loaded all our belongings onto a bus as we left our PBI houses in Churchill. We were on our way to our new home for the next three days; The Tundra Buggie Lodge! The lodge is a bunch of tundra biggies linked together in a train, creating a big lodge right on the tundra! But it takes about 2 hours to get there with the tundra biggies! So, we loaded up our buggie and started off, bright and early, for our excursion to the lodge. As we drove through the tundra, we saw beautiful scenery! You can tell its really the arctic as soon as you step outside! The wind is strong and ice cold, but the view is worth it. The main excitement for today was getting lucky enough to see more wild polar bears! This time, they were even closer to the buggie! One ran right in front of the buggie and stood close by as we all got great pictures! When the sun came out, his fur coat shone brightly and you cold see how truly beautiful these creatures are. Another bear we saw, was a very large male. Although he looked very big and strong, we got to see him rolling and playing in the bushes! He looked so cute as he stretched out his big paw and yawned. The feeling you get when you see one of these creatures in the wild, is a truly an indescribable experience. You feel so humbled and so small, when you see an actual polar bear in the wild, without cages, without signs, and without people. Just free. It was breathtaking. Our whole group was in awe of the whole situation.
When we arrived at the lodge, we were all very excited! Its not as small as you would think. The bunk beds all have their own privacy curtains with their own window, looking out to the tundra! There are 6 small bathrooms, a kitchen, a lounge, a dinning car, and it is all decorated with beautiful pictures of the wildlife and furnished with beautiful woods and eco-friendly materials. I want to live here forever! No where else in the world can you be so close to such a unique and gorgeous environment and be so comfortable at the same time!

Interesting facts of the day:

Polar bears live on the ice for most of the year. They wait for seals to come up for a breath and then catch them to eat them. Polar bears ONLY eat seals. Which is why the loss of sea ice is such a threat to the bears. Without the ice, they can't catch their food. Though it is true that polar bears can be opportunistic and eat other meats when convenient, no other source of food is sustainable for a polar bear nor is it easy for them to hunt.

Canadians really DO say "eh!" :)
After our first dinner on the lodge, watching the beautiful sunset on the horizon, we all gathered for a presentation. The presentation was about the communication and leadership we need to take away from this trip. The whole speech given to us was one of the most inspiring things I've ever heard. What they basically told us (and what I think is important for all of us to know) was that, our human impact is effecting the climate in the arctic and the ice caps. That the carbon we've been adding, has only given us an estimated 4 years of time to make a change, before the melting of the ice caps cannot be reversed! The time to act, is NOW! But its understandable that all the stress and confusion of all this can be overwhelming for anyone, especially me as an arctic leader. But, we have the power and responsibility to stand up and change this. We must accept the challenge we have been given and go out and spread the word about climate change, how we can fix this, and make a big change in all of our communities! We were told a story about a previous arctic ambassador that actually talked to the CEO of Kentucky Fired Chicken, and had him agree to reduce their use of energy, taking 100,000 parts/million of carbon out of the atmosphere! This accomplishment really inspired me to do even more! The point they made was that, even though its not easy to be the change needed in the world, we all have the responsibility to make the change. SO! I encourage all of you to turn off your lights, carpool, reuse, recycle and go that extra step to make a difference. No matter how small. Because as I sit on my bunch bed writing this and looking out at the beautiful tundra's night sky, I realize how influential one person can be in making a change in the world. Even just a teen from Minnesota.

-Kathryn Ravey

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