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An ice journey ahead for Arctic-bound Ottawa teens

Ottawa Citizen
Danna Zabrovsky

Ottawa teens Patrick van Walraven, left, Carly Roome, Hannah Jacobs and Camil Chadirji-Martinez are joining a group of Canadian and international youth on an arctic expedition to study global warming and arctic culture.

Photograph by: Bruno Schlumberger, the Ottawa Citizen, Citizen Special
Four Ottawa teens are among 79 students who will travel to Canada's North this morning on an expedition to learn about global warming and Arctic culture.

Carly Roome, Kamil Chadirji-Martinez, Patrick van Walraven and Hannah Jacobs were chosen to participate in the Arctic Youth Expedition, run by Students on Ice.
Students on Ice organizes two expeditions each year: one to the Arctic in the northern summer and one to the Antarctic when it's summer there.

This month, the 79 students between the ages of 14 and 19, including 60 from Canada, and others from the United States, France, Hong Kong and Norway, will be led on the Arctic adventure by 35 historians, artists, elders, explorers, authors, educators, innovators and polar experts.

More than 25 northern aboriginal youths are participating.

The expedition began Wednesday in Ottawa, where students gathered for an orientation. They will fly today to Kuujjuaq, Nunavut, where they will board a ship to embark on their journey.

Jacobs, 19, joined in the Antarctic expedition last December after a teacher at the Richard Pfaff Secondary Alternate Program recommended her.

She fundraised to cover her costs, which included $10,900 for the Antarctic expedition and $6,900 to participate in the Arctic expedition.

She said the fundraising effort was well worth it.

Upon landing in Antarctica, Jacobs said, she was in awe of what she saw: 500,000 pairs of penguins on the shore.

"The noise, the smell, everything is overwhelming, but it's amazing," she said. "People think of it as an ice and rock wasteland. If you don't look closely, it would look like that."

While she was in Antarctica, Jacobs decided she had to go to the Arctic.

"I want to learn ... what signs we need to be looking for from the polar regions to find out what's going to happen with the rest of the world," Jacobs said.

She joined the other students Thursday afternoon for an official send-off at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The students were treated to an Inuit drum performance and were welcomed by Geoff Green, founder of Students on Ice. The reason for the expedition, he said, is that today's youth will one day have an obligation to lead the world in the fight against climate change.

"It's about that thing right there," he said, pointing to a massive globe mounted on a wooden base.

Students who live in the Arctic will see their world in a new light, according to Arctic biologist, historian and filmmaker David Gray, who will participate in the expedition for the sixth time.

They will be exploring a place that is geographically familiar to them, he said, but new experiences and new people will offer them a new perspective.

Students will get to study algae, spend time in a snow pit and learn about native culture by visiting communities on Canada's northern shore.

Melissa Irwin of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada's Inuit association, hoped the teens would realize the importance of the Arctic on a global scale.

She described the Arctic as "the centre of this climate-change crisis" and ensured the teens walked away with an important message about Arctic culture.

"The Inuit are not bystanders of this complex crisis," she said.

She challenged the youths to embrace their power to make a difference.

CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge, who will accompany the students on this journey, told them not to forget that Canada was an Arctic nation.

"So much of our country is the North, and so few of us who live in the South know anything about it," he said.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.


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