Posts, that were tagged with "Greenland"

Did you know…

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Greenland is the 12th largest country in the world, with a size of 2,166,086 square kilometers, making it the world’s largest island that is not a continent. But also Greenland is one of the least densely populated countries in the world, with a population of approximately 57,000. 

landscapeMost of Greenland (about 81%) is covered in ice, except for a narrow strip of coastline around the island, where all Greenland’s cities are located.

The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second largest ice sheet on Earth, behind the Antarctic Ice sheet. The weight of the ice sheet had caused much of Greenland to sink about 300 meters below sea level!

The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second largest ice sheet on Earth, behind the Antarctic Ice sheet. The weight of the ice sheet had caused much of Greenland to sink about 300 meters below sea level!

 

Nature knows no borders

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When you think about trees, the high arctic isn’t the first image that will pop into your head, let alone tree planting. You might be surprise to hear that some parts of Greenland do have trees. Although they are usually very small and don’t grow very tall due to the harsh climatic condition. In recent years, Greenland’s ice sheet has been retreating up north due to climate change. This increase in temperature, especially in south greenland and the coastal region, has caused a massive growth spurs on the trees around the area.

In the past year, there has been a program to plant more trees in Greenland, for the sake of helping mother nature along in climate change. Young trees which grow on similar temperature and condition in other parts of the world have been transported to greenland for replantation. There has been a total of around 300.000 trees planted in the forest area of Nasarssuaq.

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Prof. Jason Box has personally bought 2000 trees from the US and wanting to plant them in the amount of time we were there. With the help of forestry students from the University of Copenhagen, whom are having the same project of planting 15000 trees in a span of 10 days, we were able to plant all 2000 trees in just 5 days. It was not an easy task as this was a job done by not more than 20 people in total, but the feeling of knowing that in 5 years, those baby trees will grow big enough to reduce the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, was heartwarming.

Planting trees is one of the easiest thing we can do for the planet right now. I personally reckon that it doesn’t matter whether you’re planting trees in your home or foreign country, mother nature knows no borders, your tree will still be acknowledge. So lets start getting those hands dirty shall we.

Ice is white – no? The Black Ice Story

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We are here with Prof Jason Box who has been monitoring changes on the Greenland icesheet to try and tell people what’s happening in this remote but important location.
Yesterday we took a helicopter ride to Kiagtût Sermiat Glacier which was really cool where Jason Box is recording how fast this glacier is melting.
I noticed all this black stuff on the ice, and was really surprised and sad to find out it was soot from our industrial world which seems so far away.
The glaciers and ice are covered in this really black soot like substance. Jason calls it Cryocynite which is making the glaciers melt even faster as they are absorbing more sun not reflect it.
I wanted to know where it was coming from. Jason said as far away as bushfires in Canada, the US, Europe, and from big business who are polluting the air that we breathe.

“It is a vast natural laboratory.” – Jason Box (geological survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS)

“It is a vast natural laboratory.” – Jason Box (geological survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS)

Nørsk and Northern Lights

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Yesterday the team and I were visiting the Nørsk reconstruction area in Qassiarsuk, Greenland. From what I heard, this area is the best reconsruction zone in the world. This is a place where the Nørsk (Viking) came and settled in Greenland for several hundred years. In that reconstruction zone, we went to a church of Erik the Red. I am amazed with the church, because this Church is really small, only around 2 x 4 meter. Eventhough it is small, I feel it cozy and it has kind of sauna room smell, so it is familiar for me 😀 church

In that reconstruction zone, we met local boy named David, who lives in that place for summer, and he works as a “keykeeper“ in that area. He explained about the history of the place, where the Viking turned in Christianity back in 892 AD. The ruins were really amazing, I can not imagine how they moved such big stones around that era.

After some talks and discussion, we introduced our team and he is interested in the project, and he is willing to help us. So we had a dinner together and I asked about the Greenlandic cultrure. After the dinner, we continued our chat until somebody said “Hey, there is a Northren light“. We were so excited and decided to climb up the hill and spent 2 hours just enjoying the scenery.

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The northren light (Aurora Borealis) that we saw last night was so different, it was just so beautiful and so clear, we were lucky to have such a good weather! After spending 2 hours, taking pictures, enjoying scenery up in the hill, freezing, I managed to capture some great photos of the northern light!

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Help to make Greenland greener

Planting trees

Our mission for today was to plant at least 100 trees, and that is what we have done. Nature in Narsarsuaq is really amazing. The arctic is not full of ice and glaciers, as most of the people think. Here, in South Greenland, you can also see a beautiful green vegetation.

During photosynthesis, trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen so when they grow over a long time like trees they will reduce our carbon dioxide level. It especially rises due to burning fossil fuels, like with automobile traffic, manufacturing processes and other energy intensive activities. It is also really important to plant trees as they are the natural habitat of the animals and birds, as well as many endangered species.

If you want to have a comparison about how much a tree can help us, I have these 3 facts for you:

  • Over the course of its life, a single tree can absorb one thousand kilograms of carbon dioxide.
  • One tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 26,000 miles.
  • A single tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year. That means two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four!

Reduce global warming simply by planting trees for the environment.

From Nuuk to Nuuk

I’ve had the most interesting flight journey of my life today . We rushed to the airport for our 9 am fight to Nasarssuaq. The plane was so small that we had to be weighed along with our baggages.

Entering the flight we noticed why so,it was completely packed. The journey was planned to take around 45 mins for a stopover before Narsassuaq. But due to the weather system not cooperating with the plane, we had to fly around Paamiut for an extra hour or two. There are certain requirements for planes to be allowed to land, which was pilots need to be able to see the runway at certain distance before landing. Our pilots did not meet the requirement so they decided to head back to Nuuk. On the way back, we saw the most breathtaking scenery, the greenland ice sheet. We were constantly on our cameras throughout the whole trip. We even had the opportunity to go into the cockpit and take shots of the scenery Air greenland is definitely one of the most friendliest airlines I’ve ever been on. The pilots were even willing to do a short interview whilst flying the plane. I took the opportunity to take a sneaky selfie with them as well.

After 45 mins, mother nature basically did not allow us to land in Nuuk. So we ended up flying back to the city of Kangerlussuaq, the original city where we first landed in Greenland on our first day. As the flight attendant said, “When in Greenland, time is not important, weather is”. After a short stopover at Kangerlussuaq, we headed back to Nuuk for another night and hope for a better weather the next day.

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Icebergs up ahead!

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Finally arriving at Nasarssuaq, we noticed how the bay is completely packed with icebergs from the fjords. The locals mentioned that they never had so many icebergs during this time of year in the last few decades.

As we were crossing the bay to reach our hostel, the Lief Kensington hostel, we passed a few giant icebergs along the way. The group’s impression on it started of with more excitement than worry, since all of us have never seen this sort of sightings before.

After settling in our hostel, we decided to head to the nearest fjord/valley, where the icebergs were born, to document the whole situation on camera. Towering to about 10m in the air, we were overwhelmed by the gigantic size of these bergs. We began to noticed how difficult it was to navigate through the icebergs. not only did the captain had to watched out for normal icebergs, there were black ice half submerged in the water as well, which is transparent ice that are hard to spot and can easily be hit.

This unusual event was simply due to the amount of rain they had this season, which is cause by an increase in the warming of the ocean. Rain causes the glacials to have cracks in their structure, which in turn produces more icebergs.

Hearing about this, I remembered my flight attendant mentioning that Nuuk had 8 months of snow this year. Climate change has caused the areas in Greenland to have much severe winter and warmer summer. In other words, a colder winter and more icebergs to navigate through in the summer.

Our common humanity

On boarding our flight in Nuuk yesterday morning, we noticed a small face peering through the circular plane window. She was a sweet little girl – most likely two years old – travelling with her mother to Kangerlussuaq.

During take off, the little girl burst into tears. She was terrified of the fast propellers on each side of the small 30-seater aircraft. In her state of fear and distress, I showed her some pictures on my phone and she began to relax. I found out her name was Livi.

Livi is an indigenous person, or ‘Inuit’, of Greenland. She didn’t speak any English (and I can’t speak a word of Greenlandic!), but we ended up playing for over an hour. Livi’s fear completely dissolved once we began playing games.

It’s experiences like this that remind me of our common humanity – the desire we all share to be happy and connected, and live free from fear and suffering. Meeting Livi also reminded me of the reason we are on this trip. Addressing climate change is a responsibility shared by people of all ages and nationalities, and a challenge we can only overcome by working together. Through recognising our shared humanity, we can dissolve cultural barriers and unite to create the kind of world we want to live in.

Because at the end the day, no matter where you come from or what language you speak, we all seek to live safe, happy and free lives – and tackling our climate crisis is fundamental in fulfilling that desire.

Day 2: The Hills

Nesha, Delphine and Kalinda

When reading the posts from my fellow travellers you might notice that we had some (and today even worse than yesterday) problems with landing at our destination again. That’s why we are in Nuuk for one more day.

After the arrival we felt the need to get some fresh air so we decided to go for a hike up a hill next to the airport. The view was amazing and totally different from what I’ve seen before. The hill is made up of granite which gives it the special layered look. Moss and plants which are adaptable to the cold climate dominate the surface. Only the runway is separating the hill from the open sea, where we were able to see our first few icebergs, although they were very small.

On our way up the hill, whilst enjoying the amazing view and serenity, I felt very connected to nature and touched by it’s beauty. I can also feel  that the fresh arctic air was very good for my lungs as my coughing got better.

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