Narsaq Tikilluaritsi (welcome to Narsaq)

by Guest Blogger

August 4, 2005

It’s an oddity of living on board a ship that wherever you go, you bring

your home with you. And if it’s a Greenpeace ship, pretty much whenever

you visit a town, the townspeople also get a chance to visit you. So it

feels more like exchanging visits than just going visiting.

Today we exchanged visits with Narsaq. Our guidebook says the town’s

name means “the plain”, although its landscape is a little bumpier than

I associate with the word “plain”. I would say “mountainous”,

“fjordish” or at least “hilly ” would be more like it – but then maybe

this is as flat as costal Greenland gets. At any rate, the town has a

good harbor, about 1,800 people, houses in the usual colors (red, blue,

green and yellow – very pretty), and icebergs just off shore.

The main industry here is the fish plant, and fishing is also a big form

of recreation. They do get a few tourists, and you might be surprised to

learn that some of them come for the fishing, which I’m told is

excellent. They also have a mighty big hill (it would be called a

mountain in some places). I’m told that part way up the hill you can

find rare stones called Tuttupit, which range in color from pink to

purple and are only found one other place in the world. Walking the

surrounding hills is another favorite past time for both locals and

tourists. Considering the spectacular landscape, I’d guess the views

are worth the more than any precious stones you might find.

The local kids are keen on roller blading. During today’s open boat, one

of them was even cruising around the deck. Others were playing

Attortaanneq – known in English as “tag” – chasing and hiding from each

other. Here’s a tip: favorite hiding place is behind the bridge chart

table.

The adults here echoed the same disturbing news about a changing climate

that we had heard in Ittoqqortoomiit – less sea ice, warmer water, a

local glacier has visibly thinned, and Otto (our local guide and

interpreter) told us that the weather has become more unpredictable,

which is a very big deal if you are a hunter or fisherman.

Another local told us about a glacier fed, hydro power plant being built

nearby to replace diesel generators. This is probably being done as much

for cost reasons as environmental reasons. Either way, hydropower, when

done right, is a highly reliable and environmentally benign source of

renewable energy.

In a town this size it is easy to know where your energy comes from. In

a big city, it can be less obvious. Where does your electricity come

from? How much of it is generated from renewable sources? Try asking

your power company these questions. No mater where you live, just

letting your power company know a customer cares is important. In some

areas, you can even choose to buy your electricity exclusively from

renewable sources. In the US, also be sure to take part in the Thin Ice

Contest.

– Andrew

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