Countdown Begins for Elysium Artists for the Arctic Expedition

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Countdown Begins for Elysium Artists for the Arctic Expedition

Tue, 25/08/2015 - 09:58
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Expedition designed to inspire, enlighten and motivate the world to restore the health of our Oceans

With less than 1 week to go before a team of 68 artists, scientists and environmental advocates from 21 countries set forth on a unique expedition to explore and document the Arctic region, Elysium Artists for the Arctic Expedition (www.ElysiumEpic.org) is completing final preparations to inspire and motivate the general public, government decision-makers and other influencers to take action to protect and restore the health of our planet by protecting our oceans.

The elite team of leading ocean-focused and environmentally minded photographers, artists and scientists includes Dr. Sylvia Earle, David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Ernie Brooks, Wyland, Michael AW, Göran Ehlmé, Howard Shaw, Emory Kristof, Stuart Ireland and Leandro Blanco. Their mission is to raise awareness of the fragility of the region by documenting stunning visual interpretations of the flora, fauna and landscapes of the Arctic and gathering scientific research that confirms the high risk to the region. Together, the team’s goal is to make a global call for a change in attitude toward our oceans.

“In the Arctic, we can see global warming in motion; whatever remains of our future depend on what we do now. We have this one chance to get it right.” Michael AW

The expedition will launch on 29th August, 2015 from Longyearbyen, Norway, and will travel a route that brings them into the high Arctic, visiting North Spitsbergen, North and East Greenland and Iceland. Besides panoramas of glaciers, icebergs and snowy mountains, the team will also capture images of polar bears, walruses, belugas, narwhals, arctic fox, auks, snowy owls, muskox, arctic hares and fin and blue whales.

Elysium Artists for the Arctic’s mission is to unite arts and science to create a comprehensive and compelling artistic and scientific portrait of the Arctic to reveal the region’s beauty and its current at-risk ecological status. The expedition will illustrate the plight of this region, inspiring the world to take action to combat climate change. In addition, the expedition will yield vital benchmark data about the current and future effects of Arctic warming.

The most important thing for people to know about the governance of the Arctic is that we have a chance now to act to maintain the integrity of the system or to lose it. To lose it means that we will dismember the vital systems that make the Arctic work. It's not just a cost to the people who live there. It's a cost to all people everywhere. Sylvia Earle

The Expedition will execute a systematic global awareness campaign that increases public and government understanding of the impact of climate change and ocean change in the Arctic region, and how changes in our oceans have a significant impact on global warming. The Elysium team will create a range of compelling visual stories, including traveling exhibits, events, a documentary film, a one-of-a-kind commemorative photography book and other media to raise awareness of the issue globally. During the expedition, the team will share real-time updates via daily Facebook and blog posts. You can follow the team at https://www.facebook.com/OceanGeographic?fref=ts or via its blog at ElysiumEpic.org.

Many species of Arctic animals have trouble keeping themselves fed as changes to the Arctic region limit their ability to feed due to sea ice loss and its impact on the entire food chain. The expedition goal is to encourage people and governments to act now to prevent further irreparable damage to the region, and our planet. For more information or for sponsorship opportunities, please visit ElysiumEpic.org or contact Elysium@OGSociety.org

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ELYSIUM ARTISTS FOR THE ARCTIC FACT SHEET

A Call for a Change in Attitude Toward Our Oceans

1. Elysium Arctic explorers recognize that global climate change is intimately related to ocean change. For the world to address climate change, we must address ocean change.

2. The oceans play an essential role in regulating global climate and regional temperature, and are crucial for controlling the carbon, oxygen, and water cycles of the planet. The oceans are a vital part of the complex geophysical and biochemical systems that support life on Earth.

3. The exchanges of cold and warm water that take place in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean and the seas of the Arctic are key drivers of ocean thermohaline circulation around the globe, and thus play a fundamental role in controlling the world’s climate.

4. There is strong evidence that, due to human impacts on our atmosphere stemming from the emission of greenhouse gases, significant changes are taking place in the chemical composition of the oceans. Those changes are affecting the oceans’ pH levels and productivity, and are impairing the ability of ocean life to survive and thrive. These issues are vital signs, telling us that our planet is in distress.

5. The ocean harbors a great diversity of life, with complex interactions between species and their environment. Productivity of ocean life affects global climate through the carbon cycle and provides important protein to the world food supply.

6. If each of us accepts personal responsibility for becoming informed about climate change and ocean change issues, and for taking appropriate individual action to address the problems involved, collectively we will be able to achieve the results necessary to restore the health of our planet.

Expedition Declaration

This affirms that the Elysium Artists for the Arctic Epic Expedition is more than just an exploration event. It is a commitment by the team of explorers to a greater goal beyond the adrenalin rush of a challenging adventure. This Elysium Epic Expedition is a continuation of our ongoing commitment to inspire and enlighten the general public and government decision-makers around the world, and to motivate everyone to take essential actions to restore the health of our planet. Elysium Epic’s Manifesto – A Call for a Change in Attitude Toward Our Oceans.

The Climate Change Paradigm: Atmosphere to Ocean to Climate
The Elysium Artists for the Arctic mission stems from its explorers’ shared understanding that climate change is intimately related to ocean change. The oceans play an essential role in regulating global climate and regional temperature, and are crucial for controlling the carbon, oxygen, and water cycles of the planet. The oceans are a vital part of the complex geophysical and biochemical systems that support life on Earth. For example, the exchanges of cold and warm water that take place in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean and the seas of the Arctic are key drivers of thermohaline circulation throughout all the oceans across the globe, and thermohaline circulation in turn plays a fundamental role in controlling the world’s climate.

Another example: there is strong evidence that, due to impacts on our atmosphere stemming from the emission of greenhouse gases, significant changes are taking place in the chemical composition of the oceans. Those changes are affecting the oceans’ pH levels and productivity, and are impairing the ability of ocean life to survive and thrive. Impacts on the well-being of ocean life are beginning to affect other forms of life as well. These issues are vital signs, telling us that our planet is in distress.

Human impact on the ocean is increasing every year with global warming and acidification reducing ocean productivity, overdevelopment and pollution contaminating the sea, and an increasing demand for food causing over-harvesting of the world's fisheries. Addressing these issues requires a combination of exploration and quantitative analysis to understand the underlying processes controlling diversity and productivity of marine life. Such knowledge is essential to allow us to better protect ocean life and thereby protect ourselves.

The Strategy

The members of the Elysium Arctic expedition and all affiliated agents and organizations will embark on a systematic global awareness campaign, using a variety of publications and activities, to increase public and governmental understanding of climate change and ocean change in the Arctic. A crucial goal is to explain that ocean change is a key element of climate change, and addressing the serious changes occurring in our oceans must be a part of addressing climate change if we are going to achieve the most beneficial outcomes.

Saving the Ocean’s Barometers

Dolphins, sharks, and whales are crucial umbrella species in ocean ecosystems, and are therefore barometers of our ocean's health. By preserving the existence of these creatures in the oceans, we will be preserving an essential strand in the web of life on Earth. The indiscriminate culling of these magnificent and important animals must cease, and no effort should be spared to achieve that result.

Protecting Ocean Health

Ocean life influences the chemical composition of the sea, thereby impacting ocean-atmosphere gas exchange and global climate. Human induced ocean warming and acidification are changing the balance between ocean biology and its physical and chemical environment. It is incumbent on us to explore and quantify ocean life and its environment, from plankton through top predators, in order to understand and protect the health of this vital component of our planet's biosphere. Studying key groups of animals like zooplankton (e.g. krill, copepods, salps), and higher predators (e.g. dolphins, sharks, whales, seals and seabirds) can help us keep our finger on the pulse of ocean life.

Personal Responsibility

The Elysium Arctic explorers are each committed to using their expertise to increase worldwide understanding of ocean change as a key element of climate change. The explorers have taken on the personal responsibility of achieving that goal by following in the wake of Shackleton’s epic 20th century expedition, and now by expanding upon the Shackleton Antarctic mission to create an unparalleled artistic portrait and crucial scientific index of the current conditions in the Arctic as climate change begins to take a toll on the region. The Elysium Arctic explorers are dedicated to the notion that preservation of life on Earth as we know it depends on each individual accepting personal responsibility for educating him or herself about climate change issues and for reducing his or her own carbon footprint.

For Future Generations

The Elysium Arctic explorers will strive to create a comprehensive and compelling artistic portrait of the Arctic, and document its current ecological status scientifically. The explorers hope the fruits of their efforts will bring the plight of this crucial region to the attention of the world, inspire action to fight climate change, yield vital benchmark data for measuring the future effects of Arctic warming, and will comprise a magnificent collection of sights, sounds, and information to be treasured by future generations.