Polar explorer Will Steger is famous for his world record traverses of the North and South Poles. Right now I’m in Copenhagen with his foundation, a non-profit based in Minnesota that promotes climate change education.
Over the past week, I’ve had a chance to spend time with Steger and hear his eyewitness account of drastic changes in the Arctic. He has crossed shelves of sea ice in Antarctica that no longer exist.
Recent expeditions in Canada brought him to Ellesmere Island in 2008 and to Baffin Island in 2007. On the Baffin expedition, he was joined by billionaire Richard Branson and three Inuit hunters.
Steger has recorded a special message for Canadian Geographic readers, which starts at 3:18 in the video above. The beginning and end of the clip give background on his Arctic expeditions.
Canadian Geographic’s International Polar Year issue comes out in January. Consider this a preview of the topics it will tackle.
Hello Canadian Geographic. I’m Will Steger and Happy International Polar Year.
I’ve traveled in the Canadian Arctic for over 45 years. I’ve traveled over tens of thousands of miles by dogsled and here in Copenhagen there is a lot at stake for the Canadian Arctic.
What’s at stake is your sea ice and your glaciers. It’s very serious that we reduce our carbon levels very quickly and the carbon levels are going to be determined here in Copenhagen, so Canada has a lot at stake here along with the rest of the world, but especially your native Dene and Inuit population. That’s what it’s all about here in Copenhagen.
Check back soon for more reports from Copenhagen.
Liana B. Baker, a former intern with the magazine, is a Canadian Geographic climate policy correspondent in Copenhagen