“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Marianne Williamson (often attributed to Nelson Mandela)

We are back from Bamsebu and our remote Arctic outpost after a full year. Time is a curious thing. It tick tocks for all of us, just not the same way. It seemed to stand in an eerie perfect stillness for us.

Throwing the wooden door open from Bamsebu there was a daily invitation to immerse ourselves into the fragile, harsh, vibrant, beautiful world that is Svalbard. With the advent of our book coming out later this year (early December ) we’ve taken care to peel back our layers to share what we have observed, what we have collected in terms of data, images and samples and how we have been cracked open by the challenges of the day and the changing constant that is the weather. It’s been both a rich journey and a deep exploration into our resiliency, our abilities, our strengths, our community and our challenges. It’s also been such a privilege to stoke our curiosity, stay relevant as stewards of the earth and work hard to engage people around the world through our stories and partnerships. Climate change is not taking a vacation so neither can we.

Every ounce of success we have had as a team through Hearts in the Ice is because of the collaborative support we have had from people like you, our many partners and especially our Gang of Six! And now presenting our Gang of Six: In name they are : Magne Brekke, Steinar Strøm, Pascale Lortie, Maria Philippa Rossi, Sandy O’Keefe and Bettina Breckenfeld. They are husband, best friend, brother in law, sister and represent our heartbeats!

We’ve all had the experience of going away somewhere and trusting someone with our items like our banks accounts, our shopping list, our pets, our home, the laundry. This was a bit like that except we trusted this gang with absolutely everything.
This includes our bank account and all transactions that were impossible for us on Satellite that MAGNE – Hilde’s brother in law – handled so well we now call him our CFO also known as MAM ( Magnificent Accounting Manager). Add to that always well needed and love and humor!

Mostly all logistics for Bamsebu that were of urgent need and complex in nature were a result of Steinar as well as shopping lists longer than any fjord that made everything functional and possible given our remoteness and at times inaccessibility. That was Hilde’s husband STEINAR, a vital link and extension of us, always willing and able to find even the most obscure spare part or food item and then find a way to get it to us. And always with a smile and humbleness.

Then there is our voice to the world and how people “see” and experience us when we are not able to communicate directly. The trust factor there is huge. Who would you choose to speak for you?
As we enter election time it made us think about how important it is to trust someone to represent you, stand up for you, speak for you.

We had several languages we wanted to represent and thankfully had PASCALE in Montreal who shared us with the French speaking community, coached Sunniva on her French interviews and kept so many balls in the air including the many press requests and her own articles written for the French Canadian population.

We handed over the ultimate “trust baton” to MARIA who was our voice from Oslo through all social media, replied to your comments, handled our press, advised on key items, broke the news of Covid-19 to us, managed our sponsor contacts and literally kept us relevant and alive in a way we could not given how very isolated we were. Talk about a pro!

Our face to the world was designed and curated by a real wizard called SANDY, based in Colorado, USA who took all threads of Hearts in the Ice and created a website that reflected our mission, purpose and desire to inspire. She stayed in step with all the updates and managed our website crashing with 35000 hits in one afternoon. I guess that means rock star status!

Then there is Sunniva’s sister from California BETTINA who was a great support and cared so deeply. Her thoughtfulness and care made it such that we had vital health powders like kale and beets, got our polar bear proof coolers on time and added so many special spices and twists to our meals. Her creativity and genuine care warmed our hearts all the way from California to Bamsebu.

Words seem pale as efforts to describe this gang of six vital people MAGNE, PASCALE, STEINAR, SANDY, MARIA, BETTINA – to our project and for us personally. We are us, because of them. There you have it.
It is impossible for us to share how special and valuable each has been – they are our foundation. A foundation for change is needed – on that rests the power of change through collaboration with care, focus and integrity . Our gang of six is that foundation! So the next time you think of Hearts in the ice – remember that there are 8 hearts in the ice. Thanks so much to all for your support and stay tuned…

More news soon!

Big hugs, Sunniva and Hilde

Ps…check out this great piece The Weather Channel has made!

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