Greenpeace Plans Arctic Trek to Highlight Warming
NEW YORK Two Minnesota men said Tuesday they will attempt the first summertime crossing of the Arctic Ocean, a trek sponsored by the environmental group Greenpeace to show how global warming is melting the northern ice cap.
The duo plan a four-month, 1,250-mile sojourn by canoe and skis from Cape Arctichesky in Siberia across the North Pole to Ellesmere Island in Canada, facing extremes of frigid rough seas and severe sunburn from 24-hour sunlight.
By showing how much of the crossing has to be made by canoe, Greenpeace hopes to focus attention on the disappearing ice -- something it hopes will pressure the United States to act against global warming.
It said the ice cap is thinning so fast that polar bears could be extinct there as early as mid-century.
"We wanted to focus attention on global warming. So we thought there's no better way of doing that than a summer crossing," expedition partner Eric Larsen, 33, told Reuters Television at the Explorers Club in New York.
The team's crossing of the North Pole in early July is timed to coincide with an economic summit in Scotland, where Greenpeace will press President Bush to sign the U.N. Kyoto protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, Greenpeace USA spokeswoman Carol Gregory said.
Wearing harnesses to pull canoes fitted with skis, Larsen and Lonnie Dupre, 44, plan to pull 300 pounds of gear, including a solar-powered satellite phone, video camera and other electronic equipment on the trip set to begin May 12 and end around Sept. 3 to Sept. 8.
Greenpeace says in the last 30 years Arctic sea ice has decreased about 8 percent -- or 386,100 square miles -- an area larger than Texas and Arizona combined.