This is a long one so you should go grab a coffee (or in my case a chai)

Social media at its best!

I woke up this morning and fired up FaceBook to see whats been occurring around the world. A lot of people still slate FB and get wrapped up in privacy issues but what they’re completely missing is how to set up a good Newsfeed; add + add + ADD and get a wide collection of input. Make it global, across the genres, anyone and everyone (and then cherry-pick afterwards). I’m lucky enough to have been adding to my newsfeed regularly for many years now and have acquired some amazing friends and colleagues over the years. mainly through volunteering. One of them is Moki Kokoris, a polar explorer and Ambassador to both Polar Bears and the Indigenous Peoples of the Far North. Originally from the Ukraine, Moki spends a great deal of time teaching about the Arctic and Climate Change, well-placed with her multiple positions of UN liaison at The Arctic Institute, Center for Circumpolar Security Studies, Arctic Editor of “The Polar Times” journal & Managing Editor ofthe website at the American Polar Society. It would take too long to list all her accolades on here, LinkedIn does it fairly well but visit her website too for tales of her North Pole exped and more. I would highly recommend following her FB page too for incredible photography of the beautiful landscapes we’re rapidly losing!

Moki has opened my eyes further into whats happening up there at the top of the world, and at the bottom. Antarctica is also starting to change drastically and those effects will be felt around the globe too. Its all connected!

The trouble with people though is that not everyone has their eyes open. Luckily we have celebrities to cover those bases and with the world awash with “climate change” stories it sometimes takes the celebs to bring home the truth.

This powerful Youtube does the job. For now.

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This is what has inspired me, woken me up this morning.

I’ve contacted Greenpeace and want to help assist set up an office in Greenland or Iceland. I have the Summer of 2014 to fill after Year 2 at the University of Leeds and I want to do something meaningful. I was simply going to apply for an internship with them but there’s no offices listed in the Arctic, north of Oslo?? There’s a Finland office but .. anyway .. I’ve started a conversation and hopefully that will lead to more than just posting this article or sharing the video .. but please do. Pass it to all your friends because this is the reality. 

China has now began to use the Arctic shipping route ahead of a swathe of others desperate to cut costs via the NorthWest passage (19 ships register to sail through this year).

All this information, by the way, I get via Facebook! Next to all the LoLCats and Game invites there’s a little ‘down arrow’ which leads to a powerful “I don’t want to see this” option. I use it a lot.

So …. (much to say) .. this morning it finally clicks that a large majority of what I’m seeing from a vast range of people is about that video up there. My awesome friend Alexandra lives in Perth and is seriously considering emigrating rather than endure another Australian summer. Her beautiful daughter just spent time in Alaska and shared many photos including this one. Photos like this will be precious in less than a decade.

My wish is to learn more and help more and thats why I’m writing this and of course why I run AVIF. I truly hope to see the Arctic before the drillers and miners cut it to pieces. I know we need the resources, I know the economic arguments and I know that many indigenous people would welcome higher incomes but I also know that most would rather have their traditions upheld and saved and lets face it .. we have much to learn from their simplistic basic lives. One thing I love about Kenya and the Amazon and Tibet and all the far flung regions I get to learn about is understanding and perspective of just how far we’ve overstepped our mark on “development”. Electricity and transport are essential to development but I’ve always been a country girl and believe we HAVE to find a midpoint, negotiate a way through without wrecking the planet.

Basic lifestyles have that key.

Living off the land is easier said than done but there’s a common ground and people like Moki know how important it is to get into dialogues with the indigenous people of the Far North. We all know (I hope) the iconic photo of the crying elder from the Amazon Xingu region but how many take time to fully appreciate the power of this image.

What if this were your Grandfather?

I was lucky enough to live in China for a year when my kids were only small. Taking a 4 & 6 yr old on an overnight municipal ferry up the Yangtse to sail past the almost completed Three Gorges Dam and through the Gorges themselves was a trip of a lifetime. It cost us $40 to sail past the many villages lying below the waterline markers. We met an old woman at the turning point village who gave my daughter a present, a butterfly brooch. A local woman translated for us as she told us that she would stay in her house when the dam was finished and the water rose above her. She had lived by the river her whole life and couldn’t die in a concrete block of flats that the government were building inland and downriver. I have no idea what happened to her but I’ll always cherish her. The Belo Monte Dam will bring development and power to a massive area of the Amazon but at what cost? 

Mining and drilling in the Arctic will also bring development and power (of all kinds) to the Arctic, but at what expense? Hurricane Sandy last year killed 117 in the US, Canada and the Caribbean and is estimated to have cost New York state $41.9 billion in repair, restoration, mitigation and prevention. Over 100 million miles of shorelines beaches are severely eroded. Sandy had the lowest (worst) barometric reading ever recorded for an Atlantic storm.

Now watch the video again .. please?

I’m surrounded by robotics and programming right now and also within a very closed, conventional environment. My boss is desperately trying to make me conform but he won’t win. I’m a stubborn bitch and although that closes me off to some things it keeps my mind fresh and open to innovation.

That’s what’s important.

I had an established member of the National Nuclear Lab come over to me yesterday while I was playing with the Kinect pointcloud and ask me simply “where is the excitement ?” He was talking about the lack of excitement in industry for an area that should be in every corner of every company; someone just playing with code to develop improvements in every area of every aspect of life.

Software is really about humanity; about helping people by using technology

Take some time to think this weekend and make plans to help.