Sea ice: melting, melting…

by Juliette Hauville

September 16, 2011

The National Snow and Ice Data Center in the US has announced yesterday that Arctic sea ice had reached its annual minimum. It is, as we guessed last week, the second lowest extent in recorded history, just behind the all-time record from 2007.

I remember having an email exchange with one of our Arctic campaigners two years ago about sea ice, in which she mentionned “the 2007 minimum was a freak event.” That record was so far out of the norm that statistically, it didn’t count. That was true at the time.

But what about now? How many freak events need to happen before they can be acknowledged as the new norm?

I love the Arctic. I treasure the very few occasions I’ve had to go above 66 degrees North. I hate having to write about the disappearing sea ice. I loathe writing about yet another beyond-cynical oil company taking advantage of the shrinking sea ice to go drill for more oil. I absolutely hate thinking that the Arctic Ocean, one day, most likely during my lifetime, is going to be ice free. The very idea that soon – before 2050 according to many scientists – children won’t learn about the Arctic Ocean as a permanently frozen place is horrible to me.

I’d much rather be writing about healthy polar bears, about narwhals, Arctic foxes, and all the other amazing wildlife that lives there. But until we stop destructive climate change, until governments wake up to the fact that oil companies should not be allowed to go in the Arctic anymore than a wolf should be released among the lambs, that’s not going to happen.

So I keep on writing about sea ice, and I keep on spreading the news.

If you do just one thing today, please share the video above – by email, on facebook, on twitter, on your blog, whichever way you want – and talk to one person about the state of the Arctic sea ice. We’re running out of time.

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