Why Brie Van Dam Cares about the Arctic

The wilderness has been a place of
refuge when things are difficult and, and then also a place of celebration when
they’re going really well. My most favorite memories and my greatest
desires for the future all incorporate wilderness in some way or
another, you know, I have great memories of canoe trips with my family, and I day dream all the time about sharing my passion for Alaska with my newborn
niece in Michigan when she’s old enough. And, so the idea that humanity,
that our species is really changing it’s having an an irreversible impact on our planet. And that, really that my actions and choices on a daily basis are having
an irreversible impact on the planet, that idea kinda blows my mind sometimes,
when you think about it, And so it’s easy sometimes as a scientist to look at
things through sort of like the sciencey lens of like, “oh wow what a cool time to be studying in the Arctic” because the Arctic is changing so fast right now. But when you look at that through through more human lens, it becomes honestly really terrifying, because these changes are impacting communities here and also around the world. You know, we think of the the earth as a big complex system and the Arctic is one component of that system. And I think all of us who, you know, learn a little bit about engineering understands that, in general you can’t change one component of a system without having an impact on the
entire system. And so amplifications in climate change and warming here in
the Arctic obviously are having a huge impact around the world. And that’s an impact on people, not just on the environment, it’s not just climate change, you know, we’re having impacts like water quality, or air quality, wilderness preservation, it’s all… these things are all related and they’re all
extremely important, and I think that gives me a great sense of responsibility to use my training in engineering and in the sciences to try and have a positive impact, not a negative one, sometimes that sounds like bullshit but most of the time, I feel like it’s important to at least try.

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