On the 28th of June I met up with Dr. Guy Tanner at Oslo for the second of my back-to-back expeditions to the arctic region. I had returned from the north polar region, having participated in the Climate Force Arctic Expedition 2019, and Guy flew in from the UK.
The Reindeer Rising Arctic Expedition was flagged-off from the European Green Capital Award winning city by Robert Swan, OBE, FRGS. The first man to walk to both the poles, the legendary explorer was also the leader of my first expedition, as well as an earlier expedtion to Antarctica.
The expedition was envisaged as a carbon-negative journey on public transport between the cities of Oslo-Stockholm-Rovaniemi-Helsinki-Copenhagen and back to Oslo. The first leg of the trip was from Oslo to Karlstad, Sweden, by bus and then we boarded the train to Stockholm.
At the Swedish capital we participated in a live broadcast from the We Don’t Have Time global (WDHT) headquarters with my keynote presentation ‘Warming, Water & Wildlife‘ on the Indian water crisis. The event was attended in person by civil society and business leaders from across Sweden and facilitated by WDHT Founder and fellow Climate Reality Leader Ingmar Rentzhog, the man who first saw Greta Thunberg’s potential to change the world.
Next stop was Rovaniemi, Finland, where we reached after changing two trains and three buses. The capital of the Lapland region, located on the arctic circle, was the venue for our next engagement. We found a popular pub who allowed us to use their empty basement for the ‘Live broadcast from the Arctic Circle!‘
The broadcast discussed the challenges of warming for the people and biodiversity of the arctic region and solutions that were ready for ensuring a better future. We were virtually joined by Vandana Ryder representing Parvati.org from Canada, and she elaborated about the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS) as an effective and immediate response to the climate and ecological crisis. Dr. Guy and myself focussed on the recent manifestations of the climate crisis in Europe, Africa and Asia. The panel discussion was facilitated by Milica Milosev from Serbia on behalf of Team 54 Project International.
From Rovaniemi we travelled to Helsinki on the Santa Claus Express via Oulu. At the Finnish capital, the engagements included a meeting with development professionals, NGOs and Climate Reality Leaders at the FINGO office at Elimaenkatu, at the heart of the Finnish capital, regarding the challenges experienced by people of developing nations like India due to climate change impacts.
From Helsinki we took a train to Turku and then boarded the Viking Line ferry to Aland. Changing over to another train, we finally reached our next destination Copenhagen, a city with more bicycles than people. Our only engagement at the capital of Denmark was an informal meeting with leaders from Extinction Rebellion and Fridays For Future to discuss the climate and ecological crisis, the implications for people of developing nations and the inspiration to dream of a better world.
The Reindeer Rising Arctic Lapland Expedition ended where it started, at Oslo. Back in 2013, Guy and I had trained together to become Climate Reality Leaders under Nobel Laureate Al Gore at Istanbul, and here we were, 6 years later, having completed a 2500+ mile journey across Lapland and the Scandinavian capitals to engage with local communities, civil society and fellow CRLs.