Posted by Zeyno

Winter holidays are often my favourite time of the year to go exploring, and this year I had the opportunity to visit some Northern cities before flying 200km into the arctic circle. I've been lucky enough to visit the place a few years back at the same time of year, but this time I was shocked to discover some major differences: the lack of snow.

Mentioning the causes of Climate Change and human impact will undoubtedly be repetitive for anyone, but seeing its consequences in action is definitely quite scarring. It is half way through December, and Stockholm city is filled with Christmas spirit but not the least bit of snow. In Lapland, artificial snow is produced to maintain the amount needed to build the ICEHOTEL.

I view this situation as ironic above everything else. The one accessible place I have grown to know as the place where real winter is felt, is having to produce fake snow to meet the demands of tourists. Of course, in this case, I am amongst those who I shamefully refer to as 'tourists'.

The big debate begins when we try to decide if this situation is a good thing. Looking at it in terms of the future of our planet, the easy answer is a no. The millions of tonnes of aviation fuel for our luxuries and western society's endless demand to consume, does not help in creating a cleaner environment.

On the other hand, it is our desire for new experiences that gives a boost to current local economies of places like Kiruna. During my visit, I was told by some locals, that fifty years ago the land by the river (in other words the outer skirts) were sold for very little as people preferred to make their way into the city. But today, the frozen river and it's surrounding areas have become one of the major attractions of the area due to the ICEHOTEL and various opportunities of dog-sledding.

Moving on to the global scale, there are companies like Multiconsult who are proud to announce that they have expanded to meet the growing interest in the natural resources of the Arctic. In their advertisement campaign, they strongly imply that they are not the people who are doing the 'bad business', they are simply growing due to the appeal.

This shows that there is global consciousness, so the issue is not to make people more aware of the current situation. The issue is that there seems to be a habit of 'tossing the ball around'; no one seems to be admitting to be the partial cause of our problem. It is understood that we are not in a position waste any time to make some serious changes, but through the fear of getting the blame for greenhouse emissions (as well as potentially lower profits), big names in the business are reluctant to make a change.

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    Godelieve and Zeyno. Two students with a passion.