Month 12, Day 17: The Idea Of North

This is a first for me; I have never written a letter to Nunatsiaq Online before. They ran an article about a conference in Ottowa where a whole bunch of Arctic climate specialists got up and said, more or less, “AAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!”

Nunatsiaq is pretty far North:

A is me. B is Iqaluit, Nunatsiaq. Google:

We could not calculate directions between 300 High St, Medford, MA 02155 and Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0, Canada.

I asked Travelocity to find me fares between Boston and Iqaluit:

We apologize. Your last request could not be processed. Thank you for your patience.

While Jakarta & Sydney are certainly more distant, this is definitely the remotest place I’ve written to:

The thing to keep in mind when reading about climatologists’ reactions to changes in Arctic temperatures and weather conditions is that scientific terminology was developed specifically to minimize emotional responses. While the popular conception of scientists is based on this style of communication, it’s a mistake to think that these experts don’t care deeply about what they study. The participants in the Ottowa conference obviously love the Arctic, and their use of words like “unusual” and “dramatic” when discussing current conditions should set our alarm bells ringing. Those are strong words for scientists, the sort an epidemiologist might employ to describe an outbreak of bubonic plague; the sort a zoologist might utter when faced with a living, breathing Sasquatch. If Arctic specialists are sounding perturbed, it means the evidence of catastrophic system failure is overwhelming. We (all of us, everywhere on the planet) ignore their observations at our peril.

Warren Senders


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