It’s not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump from saltwater crocodiles to polar bears, but I left tropical Australia on a Tuesday and by the end of the week I am walking up the main road of Svalbard’s only town, Longyearbyen, toward the glacier at the end of the valley. Svalbard is an archipelago located 500 miles north of Norway and 500 miles south of the North Pole. Svalbard is a protectorate of Norway, Spitsbergen its largest island, and Longyearbyen, which dates back to 1896, the administrative center of the islands.
Some days all my nuclear empowerment makes me restless. Anxious even. Shark-like, I survey these Arctic waters. Murmansk, Vardø, Svalbard, across to the east coast of Greenland. And I love to lie shallow bays, chortling to myself with my thoughts of how to reveal the mysteries of climate change to the assemblies of scientists and tourists, behind my back, belly laid bare to the midnight sun, I find I become, well, a little reflective.