Crown Princess Victoria is worried about the future in store for her children – and the rest of the planet – as a result of climate change.
The waves are rolling in from Isfjorden, literally translated as the Ice Fjord, which despite the name hasn’t frozen over for twelve years. It used to be possible to ride a snowmobile over to the other side, but now the fjord is yet another example of how fast global warming is taking hold in the Arctic.
“You can see, but above all, hear, a difference now compared to when I was last here,” Victoria tells TT’s reporter. “That was 2008 and now it’s 2023. It’s sad and concerning when you understand what kind of consequences this has on animals and nature.”
Here, on the Svalbard archipelago in Norway, Arctic cod has been replaced by Atlantic cod, the thick-billed murre, commonly found in polar and subpolar regions, has been replaced by the common murre, and the melting permafrost has led to major erosion.
Winters here are now ten degrees warmer than they were 30 years ago.
Further along the fjord lies the Swedish icebreaker, the Oden. Over the last six weeks, it has served as the research vessel for a Swedish-led expedition which, among other things, has been studying the beginning of the ice-melting season in the Arctic.
“It’s important that we understand what’s happening in the polar regions,” Victoria says.
Researchers on the Oden are undertaking a wide range of research in order to gain a clearer image of what the situation is currently, as well as how it has been historically, to understand what may happen in the future. There’s no “quick fix”, but better understanding makes it easier to make informed decisions and perhaps also more precise climate models.
Crown Princess Victoria boards the Oden followed by Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
“I’m worried about our entire planet,” Victoria says, when asked if she was concerned about her children’s future.
“We’re changing the conditions for plants, animals and ourselves at a rate we perhaps aren’t really grasping. Most of all, we’re not grasping how we’re affecting ecosystems, which are so enormously important.”
“I think maybe we talk too little about ecosystems, we read a great deal about goals when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions, which is also very important. But it’s how everything fits together that’s really important.”
‘Everything is connected’
When asked what she can do to highlight this problem, the crown princess said that most of all, she could contribute by discussing the issue as well as promoting relevant research projects.
“It’s easy for people to maybe think ‘the Arctic isn’t so important’, that it’s far north and only affects the environment up here. But that’s not the case, rather it’s often here that the signals are seen first. It’s important to see the whole picture, everything is connected.”
She adds that she tries to be a conscious consumer, in her own choices and in the choices her family makes at home.
“It’s not always easy to be a consumer and it’s not always so easy to live the way you want to. But doing what you can with the small things and maybe also with the slightly bigger things.”
It’s also important to talk to her children and inform them about climate change, she believes.
“Their interest should not be underestimated, and the ways in which they maybe want to contribute. Because that’s also a way to handle the climate anxiety, or worry, you may have, and which you hear fragments of on the news.”
“It’s important to have the tools to handle it, and that’s where I think it’s good to talk about it and see what I can do, and that includes everything from recycling to planting the plants pollinators rely on.”
Source: The Local