An Uncomfortable Truth

We are coming to our Gearing followers with a different agenda today. We usually like to keep things light hearted in our blogs, and simply share some good stories or snippets of knowledge that we have picked up in our photography journeys. However, the world we live in isn't as picture perfect as the little happy bubble we have made for ourselves online, and it's important to remember this. As a public platform with a voice, we feel it is our civic duty to tell you about issues that should be close to all of our hearts. 

Our Gearing boys headed off to Greenland - arguably one of the most remote and beautiful countries in the world - for an epic adventure of fishing, climbing, photography and exploration. What they were horrified to witness, was the serious impact that climate change is having on this frozen paradise. In the UK, though we are aware of the impact we are having on the rest of the world, we see very little of the damage on our own land. Sure, there's litter all over the roads, we know that plastic is bad and the beaches sometimes swim with rubbish, but in the grand scheme of things we are very sheltered from the damage we are inflicting on the world. I will let Max continue with his story so that you can fully understand the weight of the issue from a first hand perspective. 

Nick and myself couldn't have been more excited to set foot on the boat at Greenlands coast, ready for the trip of a lifetime. We arrived, expecting to spend our days watching belugas, narwhals, humpbacks and blue whales, as well as some incredible fishing and watching the huge land animals from the sea were at the top of our priority list, and we couldn't wait for this to become a reality. Though we did get to see the beautiful wildlife, catch some delicious fish and see some muskox and reindeer, we were given a stark wake up to the reality of climate change in this fragile ecosystem. 

Whilst we were enjoying the end of COVID restrictions this summer, we were all quietly alerted to some terrifying news that went largely unheard. For the first time in recorded history, rain fell on the peak of Greenland's ice sheet. The temperature at this height should never come close to 0°,and is thus indicative of a very serious problem that we have delivered to ourselves. Temperatures are rising twice as fast in the Arctic, meaning that they receive double the problems. Though the issue may seem out of sight for now, the melting of the ice sheets is raising sea levels globally. Furthermore, in just three days over July, Greenland lost 18.4 billion tonnes of surface mass. 16 billion tonnes of this alone could cover the entirety of the UK in more than 5cm of water. This alarming statistic has gone relatively unnoticed by the world's population, being buried to the bottom of the news by COVID, Brexit and social media. 

Greenland hosts the second largest ice sheet in the world, second only to Antarctica. At its thickest point, the ice sheet reaches an incredible two miles thick. If this entire ice sheet were to melt, the sea levels around the world would rise by 7.5 metres. However, the ice sheet of Greenland doesn't just hold frozen water. It has been ladened with another crucial job in protecting the world from rising temperatures. The ice sheet reflects a significant proportion of the sun's energy back into space and away from earth, greatly reducing the amount of heat that our planet absorbs. With the ice sheet rapidly decreasing in size, losing 269 billion tonnes of mass each year, there will be much less surface area to reflect the sun and the planet will heat up even more quickly. The temperature of southwest Greenland - including the capital Nuuk where over a third of the country’s population lives - has risen by 3° in the past seven years, faster than almost anywhere else in the world.

Global warming is an issue that we are all well aware of, but not one that many want to tackle head on. Maybe it's because it's such a huge problem that we are scared to even begin, knowing that everyone on the planet needs to change how they live. But, if we don’t do something soon, there won't be a planet for us to live on. Though as individuals we can often feel helpless, if we come together in numbers we are much more powerful. As we speak, COP26 is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, where leaders from all over the world are meeting to implement change and sign their promises to take serious action against climate change. So far, over 100 countries have pledged to end deforestation by 2030, and the global promise to ensure the planet's temperature does not rise more than 1.5° has been further highlighted and pushed to the front of the agenda. While it is clear to see that significant positive changes are being made by those with the power to do so, it is crucial that we don’t simply let our governments speak and not act. Raise your voice and raise awareness - write to your local MP, speak to your employer about what you as a company can do to fight global warming, and keep educating yourself. Knowledge is power. 

We hope that this message has taught you something, and might inspire you to question the way you live your life. It is imperative that we all make a change and take ahold of our responsibility as the inhabitants of this planet, before it's too late.