Thursday, October 04, 2018

Nature's scary warnings in Svalbard

There were two very scary things about the Svalbard trip.

Firstly, the chart above. As you can see, its indicating that the ship is on land - but how can that be? We never touched bottom once.

Alas, the charts in this part of the world rapidly become out of date because of the effects of global warming. The glaciers are retreating so fast that chart updates can't keep up: each year they are further back, smaller. What we saw as two glaciers used to be one but has retreated further up a valley.

The second were the beaches: every single one we landed on we found plastic - for example, like this plastic fishing nets washed up on the beach (oh, and also a polar bear):

It was really sad & tragic how we have polluted our oceans so that even in the wilds of Svalbard at 80 degrees north there are plastics everywhere.

If you haven't seen it already, you really MUST watch the BBC's brilliant but scary documentary Drowning in Plastic. It even has a segment on Svalbard where I spotted places I'd been to and they didn't just find large chunks of plastic they found micro-plastics in the sand and gravel too.

We really have to cut out single-use plastics from our lifestyles.


Greg Wesson said...

Wow. Both amazing and frightening observations. I went for a coastal walk in Wales a couple months ago, and picked up a lot of plastic washed up at a bay we stopped at.

JP said...

That's a real shame, those Welsh beaches should be pretty clean and good for you on collecting some of it up. We did plastic collections on each beach but it keeps coming :(

One of the problems with Svalbard is that it is at the far end of the Gulf stream which goes by a lot of plastic waste generating areas. East Greenland was better because its currents come down from the north. But no doubt the plastics will be there too.

Really recommend that documentary btw.