Saturday, November 23, 2013

Why? Candy Colored Sky.

I suppose in a way it was a small movement, a small-scale demonstration of the power of momentum. It just takes one person. Perhaps you and I can be that one person in our own circles of influence, whether that is a small beach in the Arctic or downtown Los Angeles. I ask you, please, join me, in whatever way you can. Our actions can create ripples of momentum, which together have the power to initiate cultural change. The time is now… no, really… the time is now.

I try to step back and view my life as if I am a raptor in an aerie from time to time. When I am working with Polar Bears International in Churchill, I often become so immersed in a whirlwind of work that I forget to do just this, but when I do, I stammer in awe.
It’s hard to put into words what exactly it is that we do up here. Perhaps it is my developing perspective as a newcomer in the greater environmental and business world, but it’s really kind of out there. I thought it would be neat to share, a little more intimately, what exactly it is that I am doing up here in the subarctic town of Churchill. For those who are interested it will provide context to all the polar bear pictures that appear ravenously on my instagram feed. So, here we go…
My primary duty is to oversee the polar bear cam operations. This is essentially a handful (5) of remote tilt zoom cameras in various places surrounding Churchill that are controlled by a remote team of volunteer operators, and let me say that these volunteers are some of the most passionate folks I have ever worked with. Four of the cameras have up close views of polar bears on nearly a daily basis. But why? What is the purpose of these live cameras, beyond being incredibly ecologically and biologically interesting (wink wink, Marty) or as I like to call them, cute? These cameras provide a front row seat to an environment and flagship species that is being affected by climate change at an incredible rate. Promotion of these cameras is linked to education and outreach initiatives providing information and an opportunity to connect with the arctic for people all around the world.

Secondly I assist in the execution of PBI’s Tundra Connections program, a series of educational webcasts. I encourage you to check out one of the archives. I am privileged to work with the scientists and educators to put together the content for these webcasts, whether that’s finding video that compliments their areas of expertise, formatting photographs, or animating graphics and charts to supplement the concepts presented. And then it’s show time. This year I have enjoyed learning how to actually execute the webcasts, meaning I am selecting the various assets as the scientists are speaking and the presentation is streaming live.

Beyond that I fulfill a variety of other roles that help our Churchill programs run smoothly. This includes anything from filming interviews, producing social media content, booking flights, or ordering way to much bacon. And yes, it is possible to order way to much bacon, hard to believe I know…

One of the things that I enjoy most about this work is the opportunity to reach a demographic that is very foreign to me. I come from Bozeman, Montana where the grass is green, the water is clean, and for the most part, people are very connected to the natural world. The work we are doing here, through a very robust digital presence, allows us to connect with people across many different geographic locations, ages, and economic classes.

Through my lens, the work I do up here it’s not as much about the polar bear as it is about the world. I feel honored to contribute to the greater solution by educating and inspiring others.  If we can save the polar bears the ripple effect among the rest of the globe will be huge. If we can save polar bears and subsequently their sea ice habitat we will save hundreds of thousands of precious ecosystems, we will lower the probability of severe weather events, we will leave behind a healthy and nourishing planet for future generations, and of course, high on my personal priority list is we will save SNOW which is something that is very near and dear to my heart.

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