Josefina SkerkI’m standing up here at the top of the world, 89.7 degrees North. It’s -31 degrees Celsius this morning and my fingers are frozen — but my blood is boiling. 

Like thieves in the night, the Arctic Council have snuck in and left without meeting us. I am just so disheartened and disappointed that after negotiating with Gustaf Lind and the Arctic Council in good faith to meet them at the very place we’re trying to protect, we woke to find that they have now crept in and out of the North Pole under the cover of the midnight sun.

They literally flew over our heads as we slept and then left without a word.

After meeting yesterday with Artur Chilingarov about how to engage youth on Arctic issues, Gustaf Lind is actively snubbing the very youth trying to protect it. 

Gustaf also told me yesterday that the Russian Security Services were interfering with our meeting. Maybe that’s true, I don’t know. But Gustaf Lind is the senior Arctic Council official — he could have made this happen. Instead he either allowed the Russians to dictate the agenda or was simply too afraid to meet with us. This is really upsetting for all of us, and the Arctic Council should be ashamed.

The countries that make up the Arctic Council are leading the resource grab in the frozen North, capitalizing on a crisis of their own creation to drill for more of the oil that caused this crisis. And in the midst of this mad dash, they had an opportunity to pause, to stand with us in this calm and peaceful place and listen to the voices of the young people who care about the Arctic and want to see this precious area protected, not exploited.

We have been struggling to get the pole to meet them and deliver this message on behalf of millions, pushing against a strong southern drift that is keeping us locked on this Arctic treadmill. Knowing that they have come and gone overhead as we press on below is disappointing.

But we are still determined to get there. Your messages of support drive us forward and keep us strong. When you look north, think of us — think northerly winds and warm thoughts. We fight on. 

View from the top of the world