Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead
We have been reflecting on the power of the word “community”. Both the community that we have created through Hearts in the ice and the many communities of diverse people that inhabit the earth. So fortunate we are to have thousands of heartbeats out there that support us, what we are doing with our platform and that truly, deeply care.
10 months of living in solitude with the natural world has given us the luxury of self-reflection. It has allowed for a deep connectedness to nature as we have melted into the landscape. We have been able to read all the small changes that have occurred around us, inside us. We have been peeled back, reduced, stripped of our old habits and humbled by the power of our thoughts and actions. We have underlined what is important in this life: water, food, shelter and community. If anyone around the world is lacking access to anyone of these then we are out of balance. And we are out of balance.
Like a bike wheel missing a spoke – we seem to be able to wobble forward out of alignment.
In his book “Wayfinders” Wade Davis shared that biologists estimate 18 percent of mammals and 11 percent of birds are threatened, botanists anticipate the loss of 8 percent of flora and anthropologists predict that fully 50 percent of the 7,000 languages spoken around the world will disappear within our lifetimes.
And languages are merely the canaries in the coal mine; what of the knowledge, stories, songs and ways of seeing encoded in those voices? What about all of the communities that make up all of these voices? These voices matter because they can still be heard to remind us that there are indeed alternatives, other ways of living and orienting ourselves in social, spiritual and ecological space.
By their very existence the diverse cultures of the world bear witness to the fact that we can change the fundamental manner in which we inhabit this planet and the way we live in community with each other. Let us take the time to listen to other people’s stories and learn from them. Especially the Elders that possess so much of the forgotten wisdom.
The world has changed. The way we engage, where we get our resources from, what our needs are, how we interact – it’s all different today. We seem to be mostly out of touch with understanding where our resources come from, what we are consuming, the cost to produce and the impact it has on our planet. Many of us no longer need to fight for basic needs such as shelter, food, water. We no longer live with a deep need, as our parents did, to engage daily with the earth. We no longer work entirely in community with one another. We work for ourselves, for bigger homes, more cars, more clothes. The resources are not shared the way they should be and could be.
We are at that time where we ought to be acting on what we know is good for us and the planet – like living in community and understanding that every one of us deserves to have access to all basic needs. We are seeing what we are capable of during a crisis! We are capable of great care, compassion, action and building community.
And now here we are in the Arctic standing up for our belief that human beings are indeed capable of protecting what they love. Living this very parsed down, simple, sustainable life you could ask – of what purpose this is? For us the answer is rather simple. As two well travelled polar ambassadors we have always thought our world to be without borders. We have blended into other cultures, other peoples’ stories and have tasted the promise of sunrise from every continent that there is. We feel a strong connection to people around the world. Hearts in the Ice has grown to include so many heartbeats and we recognize the fact that we would not have gotten this far without each and every one of you.
This time now is ever more important for helping one another through shared time together, lending a resource, a bicycle with tuned spokes, a few kind words or a tender hand.
In January 2017 we (Sunniva & Hilde) met up in Washington, D.C., as Barack and Michelle Obama would walk out of the White House for the last time, a new President being ushered in. It was a day when we had hoped to bear witness to the inauguration of the first ever Female President elected. Instead it was a march on Washington that on January 20th brought diverse communities together in a powerful, peaceful demonstration and march. With the Canadian and Norwegian flags draped over our backs like capes we stood shoulder to shoulder with young and old of all ethnicities.
It was our time to show up and stand for what we believed in.
Equality. Peace. Shared values. Community. Respect for diversity and our differences.
Love. Kindness. Courage. Togetherness.
With tears in their eyes people came up to us with hugs thanking us for travelling from Canada and Norway. Our journey to the march that day was no more important than theirs, so we hugged everyone right back. What a testament to how powerful we all are when we stand rooted in beliefs that encourage equality!
As we try to figure out when exactly we will leave Bamsebu we keep working on our citizen science projects like drone flying, collecting salt water and phytoplankton samples, collecting plastic, inspecting dead fulmars for plastic in their stomach lining and wildlife observation.
The drone from Indrorobotics has been a very fun tool to use for aerial photographs – we are also using it for BCIT. The FLIR thermal imagery will help to answer questions regarding any relationship between water surface temperature and phytoplankton concentrations with respect to the introduction of freshwater from the melting glaciers around us into the fjord. The drone could be a useful tool for future climate change studies so we are excited to see the results when we get back.
We are also working on our book project. To pre-order a copy – due out late fall – please do this through www.heartsintheice.com/shop. Given that we have just learned that the ship we hoped would come in here Sept 11 is not operating this summer we are working to raise funds for continued communications and logistics as we extend our stay.
For every 900 kr/90 usd donation through our GoGundMe-page you will receive a handmade “Hearts in the Ice pendant” that makes you an official “heartbeat” of our growing community. You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram. Every bit helps so thank you!
Please share what we are doing with your friends so that we can keep growing this global community of heartbeats. We promise to continue to be a positive voice for change and re-alignment! Let’s make sure we all work to find ways to tune the spokes on this wheel of life!
Love, Sunniva & Hilde & Ettra