April 22, 2016 – Today, Earth Day, an expedition of Argentinian explorers arrived to the North Pole carrying a Laudato Si’ encyclical and a Global Catholic Climate Movement banner calling on world leaders to “protect our climate & our common home”.
Credit: Tommy Heinrich
Pope Francis sent a letter to the expedition (see original in Spanish), through Scholas Occurrentes, saying: “Thank you for bringing the Laudato Si cry to the polar ice for future generations … I am convinced that the problem is serious and that initiatives like yours are helping raise awareness about environmental degradation, depletion of the natural resources, pollution and also the severe wealth inequality.”
After 9 challenging days of marching through the Arctic ice, they brought the Laudato Si message to the North Pole to raise awareness about the climate crisis and the moral imperative to take climate action. They witnessed the dramatic impact of climate change in the Arctic, as they were delayed by a week because of unexpected ice melting, and sent this message to world leaders gathered in the U.N. asking them for bold action to protect our common home.
The team in the Norwegian island of Longyeardbyen, before the journey started. Credit: Tommy Heinrich
At exactly the same time, the Paris Agreement signature ceremony took place and over 170 nations signed the treaty. We know that this Paris Agreement is very far from what we need and we are aware that words on paper mean nothing, but this was a crucial and historic first step that is required to effectively fight climate change.
This U.N. ceremony sent a strong signal confirming that the fossil fuel era is coming to an end. We celebrate that and increase the pressure to make sure that action accelerates dramatically. There is no time to waste.
The GCCM Global Coordinator, Tomás Insua, attended the ceremony and had a phone interview with the North Pole explorers right before the ceremony started (see interview in Spanish), and brought the banner with the same message as the North Pole expedition:
This builds on top of the groundbreaking Interfaith Climate Change Statement that we delivered last Monday to the President of the U.N. General Assembly, which was signed by prominent Catholic bishops and cardinals together with other renowned faith leaders.
Here’s a brief summary:
DAILY UPDATES FROM THE ARCTIC:
The expedition expects to arrive to the North Pole on April 26th. Here are their daily updates:
DAY 10: APRIL 22 – 17:30.
Goal finally achieved … We arrived to the North Pole!
It’s so nice to see our beautiful flag in the pole.
Thanks to everyone for the support you gave us!
DAY 9: APRIL 21 – 21:00.
What left the ninth day of issue:
Another busy day. Continued strong wind and poor visibility. It is extremely low wind chill. Everyone’s mind is very high because we are very close to the goal …
Sleds are becoming heavier, but with the last breath we jump to our goal … the point where all roads lead us south.
DAY 8: APRIL 20th – 20:00hs.
The distance covered today was: 14,4km and temperature during operation revolved around the: -28 ° C
This morning, the start of the march was different from previous; we find very little visibility. This phenomenon in Argentina we call “White Wind”, occurs when there is significant wind gusts lifting the loose snow, making viewing difficult and causing very low thermal sensation. This was maintained for the first two hours of travel.
DAY 7: APRIL 19th – 20:55hs.
During the march we had quite windy and ice was very uneven, which we demanded more effort compared to yesterday, to realize the kilometers achieved.
DAY 6: APRIL 18th – 20:00hs.
As in previous days, the temperature was very low, and also this time we must add the difficulty of the wind, which forced us to rehydrate permanently.
On this day, thank God, the march was facilitated by the firmness of the snow and the terrain regularly, enabling a very good movement.
DAY 5: APRIL 17th- 20:00hs.
The pace of our progress is an hour’s walk for seven minutes of rest, where we stopped to take those few minutes to rehydrate with hot drink and eat enough calories to continue marching in the best conditions.
We continue with a lot of energy and well put our objective view. Thank you for all the support they give us. The breath of you weigh much and is what most gives us strength when we weigh and legs!
DAY 4: APRIL 16th – 20:00hs.
Outcome of the fourth day: as in previous days, the snow cover is similar and we face many obstacles from the fractures and closing of cracks in the ice. They produce walls up to 2m high which should be surrounded. Thank God we are all very healthy and energetic. And I added it to today, we have made 1/3 of the way! Tomorrow will be another very busy day. We continue to count on your support!
DAY 3: APRIL 15th – 18:38hs.
Good night! On this day, the expedition conducted a march of 9km to lat N 89 ° 13’Long E 140 ° 51’36”. Today we moved slowly as temperatures were very low and the snow is very deep. We continue highly motivated because of your support!
DAY 2: APRIL 14th – 19:07hs.
The group woke up early, ate breakfast and prepared to have water during and at the end of the day. We marched for about 7 and a half hours, reaching 89 degrees seven minutes; 138-140 latitude, longitude.
It was a tough day because it was very cold. Overall, we marched 12.5 km. We remain very energetic and highly motivated. We’re going for more!
DAY 1: APRIL 13th – 08:37hs.
We started our adventure into the North Pole. The patrol began the journey today at 8:37 pm (Norway’s time). The climate now is accompanying us, we had -25 ° C temperature but with what the group is motivated and full support of you, we endured it well. Now we have to rest, to start tomorrow with a lot of energy. To reach the unreachable.