The Svalbard Archipelago hosts the northernmost coal mines in the world. For now, only enough coal is being extracted to run the aging power plant in the largest settlement in the archipelago, Longyearbyen, on the island of Spitzbergen. The others have been closed – but not out of climate concerns.
Coal Car Cableway (Temporarily?) Shut Down
Rather, it is the dwindling economics of coal that pushed the closure. That the mine owners claim that closure to be temporary only drives the point home. Even 800 miles above the Arctic Circle, in the most fragile climate on the planet, money trumps common sense.
Glacier in Rapid Retreat
Of late, I’ve been including, in both my Arctic and Antarctic Tweets, the hash tag #NoIceNoUs.
It is worth seeing for yourself. And it is worth saving. To hear my prose essay on Svalbard coal and see more photographs, layer-up, slip into your kayak, and paddle over to Living on Earth
My fieldwork in Svalbard was supported by One Ocean Expeditions, and I highly recommend them.
Mark Seth Lender
Living on Earth
Member: Explorers Club