Pau Capell | Run For The Arctic

I believe it’s important to stop and evaluate what you do everyday. We live in a society in which everything moves very rapidly, and we don’t have time to enjoy what we do and to feel free. I believe it’s necessary to stop. And look for personal challenges or goals to get to know themselves. And when you get to know yourself better, you get a little more freedom because it’s you who is leading the way. The consequences of climate change are already being felt all over the world, they are not uniform, they’re not the same everywhere. So some regions are getting warmer. Some regions are getting drier. Some places are actually getting colder. And some places are getting more humid. But there is probably one place in the world where we feel the impacts of climate change even more than in other places, and that is the Arctic. The idea of Run For the Arctic was born two years ago, because I was seeing a significant change in the climate. According to scientific research it appeared that polar bears had to travel up to 250km extra to survive, moving from one liveable area to another. So I wanted to arrange a project to be as close as possible to what polar bears endure by running this distance, which corresponds to the distance from Alta to Nordkapp. Let’s go! It’s really cold, eh? Look at my eyes! Oh, too cold, I’m suffering a little bit! When I arrived in Alta I was really surprised by the cold I was feeling and thought that what I had to endure during four or five days was not merely running; it was something about the environment, something about the cold temperature and that it would be a big problem for me to overcome every kilometer. So I started to be a little bit afraid of what could come next. The adventure of Run for The Arctic lasted for five days. Everyday I was running over 50 kilometers. My strategy was very basic: trying to run all the way, each day, without stopping. So every day I ate a big breakfast to hold on through the four or five hours of the daily route. I think it’s important to discover new places that bring something different to your day-to-day life. What we look for as people, is to go to new places which could bring new sensations and new experiences, which are totally different from what you are used to. Do you live here? It’s really cold, eh? I’m from Spain. No, now it’s good! Usually it’s minus 8 to 10 degrees. Can I ask you: the North, you told me it’s this way, and then I need to go around that? Yes, correct! OK. So, we are going there. In the compass that is North and that is South! Ok, thank you! If you see the mountains, it’s not Nordkapp! That way! OK! Thank you so much! The Arctic is a very, very special place. first of all, it feels like the Arctic is really far from us, very, very remote. But actually we are tightly connected to the Arctic. It’s important to realize that the Arctic is, first of all, an ocean surrounded by pieces of land and that many of these land regions are covered by snow, covered by ice and covered by permafrost. A huge part of the Arctic is actually frozen, it is reacting very, very quickly to climate change. And because of climate change, sea ice is retreating faster and faster every year. And for us, this sea ice is a natural mirror. It’s reflecting a lot of the solar radiation we get. But if this mirror is getting smaller and smaller every year, then what happens? The Arctic is warming faster and faster. Running on snow is different, the pace is different, you need to control your stride better, you can’t run as fast as you would run on normal mountain terrain. Yepa! What’s up ladies and gentlemen! I’m tired, eh? Kilometer 46, 3rd stage. Today, hard day, but good views, so I’ll continue to the 51km mark, more or less, and then finish for today, and rest. Tomorrow more running, but Nordkapp is now so close! What we do know is that if we do not do anything about it, the Arctic will keep changing very rapidly and in turn, this will affect the fauna, the flora, the populations of the Arctic, but also us, here, at more moderate latitudes in Europe or in the US. We are tightly connected to the Arctic and we know that if we do not act now, the Arctic could increase in temperature at about 5 to 10 degrees by the end of the century. Imagine if the Arctic warms up so quickly. What will happen to us here? Back in Europe, back in the US? This is sea level that is increasing much faster. These are heat waves that we will get more often or extreme events that will directly affect us. It is crucial that we act now as quickly as possible to preserve the Arctic. It’s not too late, but time is really running out. And what’s important to understand is that we are the main cause of climate change, which means we are the main solution. So today, every action we do on a daily basis can have a positive or a negative impact on our climate. So let’s make sure it’s a positive one. If the conditions hadn’t been so cold, so extreme with so much snow, for sure running would have been much easier and I would not have suffered so much from the cold, but it would not have been the same. I think that the beautiful thing is that conditions are representative of that area and that they are real and that is the destination you’re looking for. I think it’s important that we take care of the whole environment so that these conditions can persist forever.

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