My knees are trembling. My arms are aching. My mind is racing and I’m exhausted.
Right now, I would so welcome the warm embrace of a steaming bath.
But, on my skis, dragging a sled about 100km from the North Pole, I am very far from a warm bath. And so I persevere, and follow my fellow explorers as we venture across this magnificent and pure space in solidarity with the 2.7 million signatures and everyone else who is standing with us in solidarity.
At least as a Dene woman who lives in the North, I am more used to environment than some of the people traveling with me. There’s Renny, from the Seychelles, where the temperature rarely drops below 24 degrees Celsius. There’s Ezra, from the New York City, who’s learning how a changing Arctic is linked to extreme climate disasters like Hurricane Sandy. The only other “northerner” is Josefina, another strong young indigenous sister from the Sami community in northern Europe.
Together, however, we’re all learning the rules of the North Pole.
Don’t take off your gloves, even for a few seconds. Avoid walking into the wind. Prepare for the day when you have the time to in the morning. Also: beware of polar bears.
There’s a lot to remember, a lot to focus on, but as I glide one ski forward, then another, then another, I’m able to concentrate and be present. Although it’s cold, and my body is going numb, I realize there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I’m here on a mission. I’m here because I’m a Gwich'en/Tso Tsine from Yellowknife, N.W.T, traditionally named "Denendeh" which means "The Land Of The People" and the plight of a melting Arctic is tied up with the plight of my land and my community.
I’m here because of you, and millions of Greenpeace supporters like you around the world who signed our pledge to declare a sanctuary in the uninhabited area around the Arctic. It’s madness…the sea ice around the Arctic is melting because of climate change, and now oil companies want to take advantage of this to drill even more in the Arctic, to get more oil, to further perpetuate climate change. I’m here because this cycle needs to stop.
In a few days we’ll get to the North Pole. There we’ll plant a Flag for the Future. For you, for all of our supporters and for the future generations. This is not a flag for any people, race, culture or ideology. It’s a Flag for the Future, and it will be planted at the North Pole along with your name. I’m so proud to be here on your behalf and I appreciate all of the kind words, support and prayers sent our way.
I share these words with you with much love and respect, thank you.
Join the campaign www.SaveTheArctic.org