Creating the future ambassadors of the Arctic Ocean
Mission ONE: Bring twenty youngsters to Bjørnøya and make them arctic ocean ambassadors
Clean the beaches of Bear Island, we’ve estimated to spend 2600 hours cleaning litter and doing plastic related work for our sience partners.
We will give youth an incredible experience, we teach about circular economy, giving them understanding, the facts to convince through the scientists and an attractive story to deliver across the world.
We will document and make attractive content, podcasts, articles, to be promoted world wide through SoMe, news agencies and everywhere the voice of the future generations will be heard.
Grey and barren. Bear Island wasn’t there. And then it was. Like it had jumped out of the Barents Sea. The Gate to the Arctic Expedition had arrived - and we wanted to make a difference.
The non-profit Gate to the Arctic was launched in January 2021 as an environmental initiative to create young Arctic Ambassadors. Hard and targeted effort had paid off when we finally reached Bear Island on our own expedition vessel under the midnight sun July 18th.
Our goal for 2021 was originally a full scale expedition with young Arctic Ambassadors from all over the world on three boats over a period of one month. Even if we had a number of very positive meetings and follow ups, July came way too fast to get the finances in place. We had meetings with both international companies, media and small local ventures that saw the potential of getting on board. But the time line was too short. So we changed plans, and decided to go anyway. We made this year's expedition a pilot and research expedition to lay the foundation for 2022. If you want to make a real difference you have to prove you are committed, and we are.
Plastic in the Arctic
The Arctic is made up of Canada, Greenland, The USA, Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden and makes up only 4% of the Earth’s surface. Although it’s quite small, it still acts as one of the most important cooling systems for our planet. As a polar region, the Arctic is made up mostly of ice caps. In recent years, global warming has been overheating the Arctic, melting the ice caps as well as endangering the ecosystems that depend on the complex ecosystem to survive. Plastic pollution is also a big issue in this pristine environment.
The story of plastic debris in the Arctic often begins with large pieces of waste, like abandoned fishing nets. Nets can entangle fish and marine mammals, and even terrestrial mammals like reindeer when debris washes up on the coast. Floating plastic can also act as a raft that speeds the travel of invasive species. On Svalbard, non-native barnacles have been found on plastic debris. Meanwhile, transportation is hindered by floating plastic debris when it obstructs or damages vessels.
As the plastic degrades into smaller pieces, it’s ingested by animals of all sizes. Arctic species from cod to fulmars to belugas have been found with plastic in their stomachs. Microplastics persist in the Arctic environment and find their way into every part of the food chain. Microplastics have been found in Arctic snow, sea ice, seawater, in sediments collected on the ocean floor, and on beaches.
The problem is expected to worsen with climate change, as sea ice melts and human activities increase in the region. (Source: Arctic Council)
Plastic is one of many elements that has a negative effect on the ocean in the Arctic. Gate to the Arctic is a long-term commitment that will focus on all the troubled and beautiful aspects of the Arctic. We will bring the youth to the scene and let them tell the story and change the mindset of their friends all over the world.