Explorer answers YOUR questions!

Photo credit: Simon Skreddernes

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Erling Kagge is a Norwegian explorer, lawyer, art collector, entrepreneur, politician, author and publisher. In 1990, Erling Kagge and Børge Ousland became the first men ever to reach the North Pole unsupported.


Q) Is the North Pole now the same as it was when you were the first to reach it unsupported? If not, is it ALL because of climate change? From content_lemon, Boutcher C of E Primary School

A) The Arctic, where the North Pole is, is an ocean circumnavigated by continents, while the Antarctic, where the South Pole is, is a continent circumnavigated by oceans. It is getting less and less ice in the Arctic Ocean. Some years it may get more, but the bigger trend is unfortunately that the levels of ice resting on the ocean have been decreasing since 1990. I am only an explorer that loves our polar regions and not a scientist and am not sure if it is only because of climate change. But the world is heating up, 0.8 Celsius since 1880, that is dramatic, and most scientists seem to agree that ice melting both in the south and in the north is due to our warmer climate.


Q) Also is it amazing to see how different animals live in the north pole/were you sad as well? From plucky_cat, Birchwood C of E Primary School

A) Yes, it is sad to see animals suffer. Survival in The Arctic has always been hard, also for most animals, and if the Arctic Ocean heats up a little bit more it will get even tougher. Life – animals, vegetation and humans - up north depends on a fine balance and only one more degree of warmth can have a major impact.


Q) How can you tell if a specific area is affected by climate change when you’re exploring? From eloquent_recipe, Crampton Primary School

A) It can be a bit difficult there and then, because The Arctic is changing with the seasons and from year to year and has always done so. Infrequent visits are not that trustworthy. You can however tell the difference by comparing for instance your own photos of a glacier with old photos taken around the same dates in the year of the same glacier. By doing that it is easy to tell that glaciers in Norway and other places are melting and getting much smaller.

I believe, as many have said before me, if you want change you have to be the change.

Erling Kagge, Explorer

Q) Did you take any photos so you might be able to do a before and after picture? From adventurous_piano, Streatham Wells Primary School

A) Yes, and so have many fellow explorers. I do however think it is difficult to tell huge differences in an area as vast as The Arctic from my own and fellow explorers' photos. We can only see a super tiny part. The photos do however appear to show a trend, which is very negative, climate change is making it’s impact on this vast white ocean and it’s surrounding continents, and that again may change much bigger areas.


Q) What can I do to make a difference? (to climate change). I want to help but I don't know how. From buzzing_wilddog, St Gregory's Catholic Primary School

A) Everyone can change the world. I think that is really important to keep in mind. Not the whole world, off course, but small parts. Climate change is a challenge, so is plastic in the oceans, pollution in the cities and poverty. I believe, as many have said before me, if you want change you have to be the change.

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