As world leaders and experts gather around the world to move forward on the climate change agenda, some children are also doing their part to respond the environmental threats. On Friday 21st November, Green Cross International Founding President Mikhail Gorbachev paid tribute to an international coalition of children, who have been particularly active in alerting the public about critical environmental issues endangering the Arctic.
The children, between the ages of 10 and 17 years, and representing France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, the US and Nunavut (Canada), are part of a multi-year mission called “Pax Arctica” that aims to study and educate the public about the effects of climate change on the Artic. Spanning a period of three years from July 2008 to 2010, Pax Arctica will emphasize focused research by ecological scientists and environmental advocates to explore and assess the ecological conditions and the geopolitical climate of the Arctic. The ultimate goal of the mission is to determine the steps needed to preserve the Arctic ecosystem for generations to come and to encourage the ratification of international policies to ensure the preservation of the Arctic habitat. The event was organized by Green Cross International and Pax Arctica, and is supported by UFG, Y&R, KDS, and Rabobank. The Expedition is a joint effort by Pax Arctica, Green Cross International, Global Green USA and Green Cross France and was co-lead by Luc Hardy and Global Green USA Board member Sebastian Copeland. The Expedition was supported by HP, Napapijri, UFG, Y&R, ReedSmith and KDS.
Pax Arctica was the first expedition to witness a major break-off of the Arctic ice shelf in July 2008. The breaking up of the ice shelf has continued since then, leading to a 23% loss of the Canadian Ice Shelves. According to Dr. Derek Mueller, a polar scientist at Trent University in Canada who first reported the cracking of the Ward Hunt ice shelf in 2002, what was witnessed is the consequence of gradually warming temperatures, especially in the North: “This ice shelf has become destabilized with cracks over the past six years and recent open water conditions to the north of the ice shelf have facilitated the latest break off. The observations made by the Pax Arctica team helped pin down exactly when the calving took place”.
On Friday 21st November, the team of children presented the results of the expedition to Mikhail Gorbachev at the Gorbachev Foundation in Moscow. The young adventurers each received a “Young Ambassador” award from Mr. Gorbachev’s directly, recognizing their contribution to the fight against climate change.