Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tromsø, Norway

March 24, 2010
Clear, freezing. Lots of snow on the ground.
Today we went to the polar museum in Tromsø, and looked at the aquariums with the local fish and two bearded seals. We watched a really adorable seal show and the trainers told us about how each individual had a unique personality and were very smart. Afterwards, we looked at a whole display in the gift shop of seal skin products: do you want your adorable, intelligent, and unique friends in the form of purses, boots, capes, or stuffed animals?

In spite of myself, I’m very much taken with the arctic landscape. I always thought I was much more fond of the tropical landscape, but the huge snow covered mountains and the blue blue fjords are gorgeous. The little peaked-roof houses and old churches are adorable, and the Norwegians are beautiful.

Today, I read in the news that an island has disappeared beneath the ocean in the Sunderbans as a result of global climate change. Ownership of the island has been disputed over for decades by India and Bangladesh, but luckily our relentless release of greenhouse gasses has effectively put an end to the political battle. I could write endlessly about the terrible effects of climate change, how all the wonderful things I’ve written about over the last three months will probably not be around for my children to see, and how I can’t stand the idea of so many people being subjected to rapid change that our technology won’t be able to keep up with. But I've done enough of that. I’m going outside to look for the northern lights.

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