Skip to main content

tv   Greenland and Climate Change  CSPAN  August 26, 2016 2:47am-3:53am EDT

2:47 am
building design and construction. live coverage from the national building museum in washington, d.c. begins at 5:30 eastern. >> white house spokesman josh earnest took questions about the earthquake in italy. russian intervention in syria, and the zika virus. this portion of the white house briefing is 15 minutes. >> good morning, everybody. it is morning nice to see a wall,. -- csee you all. kathleen? ani wanted to see if you had update on italy at all.
2:48 am
i don't have any additional details in that situation. obviously we have seen italian officials significantly increase the number of people that they have now concluded died in the earthquake. i think it is an indication of how traumatic an event this was. i know that secretary kerry had an opportunity to consult with his counterpart, and the u.s. offer of assistance remains open. event like this, where the devastation is so widespread, the italian capabilities are significant, and they have significant resources in this region. but we are obviously going to stay in close touch with italian officials, and there are ways for the u.s. government or individuals to offer them assistance in dealing with the aftermath of this tragic event.
2:49 am
we'll be prepared to offer that assistance. but at this point i am not aware of any specific assistance that has been requested. >> ok. and then, something on yemen. rights chief is calling for an international investigation on human rights abuses. i'm wondering, what about the white house's concern about the rising casualties in that war? we have been concerned for quite some time about the degree to which civilians in yemen have been caught in the crossfire in that conflict. that has been a source of significant concern. we have encouraged all sides to be mindful of the responsibilities that they have to avoid civilian casualties.
2:50 am
that is the message that we have delivered. it's also why the united states have been so strongly supportive of u.n. and other multilateral efforts to bring the military conflict in that country to an end. yemen is a country that has been plagued by significant problems for quite some time, and our partners in saudi arabia have been understandably concerned about the way to turmoil and conflict in that country poses a security threat along their border. they are concerned about that, but there has been widespread reporting about millions being caught in the crossfire. we have encouraged all sides that conflict to be mindful of their responsibility that they have, to prevent and avoid civilian casualties. >> do you see this as a moment to specifically call out -- to apply additional pressure? >> unfortunately there have been
2:51 am
reports for years about -- or at least more than a year -- of situations in the conflict were civilians have been innocently harmed or killed. we have expressed concerns about that many times in the past. have thosetinue to concerns and continue to publicly remind people on all sides of the conflict that they have a responsibility to avoid casualties. aisha. >> thank you. wednesday wast on complaining that the federal government has not delivered all that he antibody tests has requested. i wonder if you have any response to that, and why haven't we gotten all the antibody testing done? >> i can't speak to the specific request of the governor. i would refer you to my colleagues at the cdc who would provide you an update on the provision of that assistance. i think what is clear is that
2:52 am
the federal response has been negatively affected by the refusal of republicans in congress to act on the funding request that president obama put forward six months ago. it is clear that there is more that the federal government can and should be doing to try and protect the american people. there is no reason this should evolve into a partisan fight. the president put forward a funding request based on the advice he received from his national security team, from public health professionals, and from the top scientists and the federal government, and despite that scientific request, republicans have engineered a political strategy to block it, and that has been quite disappointing, particularly when you consider that congressional representatives in congress, in the republican party, who are representing states that are most directly affected or at the risk from the zika
2:53 am
virus, there are a lot of florida republicans in the house of representatives who oppose the presidents funding request. i certainly understand governor scott's frustration, but at the end of the day, the president, vice president, the top scientists and u.s. government have appeal to congress, appeal to republicans in congress, encouraging them to act on this funding request, and republicans in congress have resisted. at some point, leading republicans from the states that are most directly affected are going to need to echo this call. and we are going to need to see republican senators from florida, from louisiana, from georgia, contact mitch mcconnell. we are going to need to see republican house members from texas and alabama and mississippi appeal to speaker make the same case that
2:54 am
president obama and leading scientists have made about the necessity of congress acting on zika funds. >> republicans will say they have passed the funding bill, but i know that the white house did not support the provisions in it. make the same case that presidentand they would say that democrats didn't go along with it. my question is -- >> i am not sure that as an excuse. they have a strong majority. the president put forward a proposal that got bipartisan support. there are some republicans i did support the administration's funding request. ultimately there is a responsibility that leader mcconnell has as leader of the senate to do things for the american people. that is why he ran for the job. he wrote an op-ed in "the wall street journal" saying under his leadership out they could get moving again. apparently he didn't explicitly note that he wouldn't get it moving again when it relates to public health emergencies and
2:55 am
properly funding the response. but he has failed on that, and republicans have failed, and republicans are the ones who have to account for their failure to get this done. >> on syria, russia has agreed to a 48 hour humanitarian cease-fire in aleppo, but there is no guarantee for the parties on the ground. i wonder if you have any response to that agreement, that cease-fire. >> well, it's important to understand the context here. effective the matter is that over the last month the assad regime, backed by the iranians and russians, launched an offensive in aleppo to try to cut that city off, to try to isolate that city to enhance pressure on not just the civilians who live there but also the opposition forces that
2:56 am
are based there as well. in encircling the city, the assad regime blocked the very road that the u.n. was using to provide humanitarian access. and again, the efforts of the regime were backed by the russians and the iranians. that is while you are not going to see me standing here giving the russians all that much credit for their position on this. what the united states supports is the you an effort to broker all sides to come together around some kind of agreement that would allow humanitarian assistance to reach people in need it.who so badly we would welcome the russians and others engaging constructively in that process and reaching an agreement so that that badly needed humanitarian access can be provided. michelle. >> donald trump's recent
2:57 am
comments to try to win over african-americans, talking to them about how the democratic party has been for them has put -- some have called his comments delusional. what does the administration think about his pitch to black people in america? well, i don't think i have a specific response to the appeal that is being made by the republican nominee. what i will say is something that the president has said, which is that the president does believe that these are the kinds of things we should have in the context of a presidential election, that candidates in both parties should put forth prioritiesa and the and promises that are made by the candidates should be carefully scrutinized by the news media and by the voters. interested inare
2:58 am
understanding the priorities and agenda of the candidates should look at their record, should listen to their rhetoric on the campaign trail, and should draw their own conclusions about whether or not that person is likely to represent their views in a leadership position like washington, d.c. obviously the president has strongly held views about the ideas that have been put forward by both sides, but ultimately, people are going to decide for themselves, and they should do so based on a careful examination of the record and agenda of both candidates. >> some were offended by the things he said as a relates to african-americans. the president being african-american and feeling strongly -- is he offended? >> i haven't asked him about this particular aspect of the republican nominee's pitch, but look, i think the president does believe that the candidates should be judged based on their record, based on their history,
2:59 am
but also based on the agenda and priorities they are laying out and the promises they are making in the context of the campaign. it is important for all of you to scrutinize that, including asking me about it, and it is important for voters to do the same. >> some of the things that vice president biden said, it came up briefly -- not only did he say "god willing, there will be enough evidence that you are presenting against him," but that he wished it was another country. -- was this a slip of the tongue? does the administration agree with these statements? >> i think the point vice president biden was making is that there is a well-established process that is outlined in the extradition treaty between the united states and turkey and in the u.s. law that governs how these kinds of requests are resolved. i think again, what he is thisng to is the fact that
3:00 am
issue has created some tension with the relationship between the united states and turkey, and it is not tension that is going to be quickly it is important for this process to be followed and the rule to be followed and the treaty to be adhered to. the administration has made a strong commitment to the turkish government that we will consider their requests on the merritts. that up with ed action. i think it is an indication that we are committed to following the process. what the vice president is alluding to is the relationship between our two countrys is not something that is going to be resolved overnight. it is not a decision that can be
3:01 am
made on short notice by the executive branch. the administration is committed to following it even as we are aware of the concerns that have been raised by our allies in turkey? >> do you think when he said god willing -- >> i wasn't in turkey when he made those remarks. i think the intent of his message i think is consistent with what we have been saying from the beginning. >> ok. also, i think he mentioned get moe also. -- gitmo also. do you think the president feels he will get this closed by the time he leaves office. there are some who have not been cleared to go toor countries. is the process and the plan that those people will be cleared. i thought there was always gong going to be a handful that you
3:02 am
could not transfer and he knew that already. how is he going to get this closed? >> what we will continue to do is work to overcome the obstacles that congress has for guantanamo bay. it would save taxpayers' money. it is a fiscally responsible proposal and approach that we're taking here. it is not just the obama administration that is making the case. democrats and republicans who are experts have made this case. so we're going to do our best to try to get this closed and that's what we'll do. i can't lay out for you exactly the path for how that is going
3:03 am
to take place right now. the president has made clear this is a priority. he did that in the earlier stage of his presidency. it remains a priority in the last several months. >> congress will have to be involved then? >> what i'm saying is congress has erected enormous barriers that we have to figure out a way to deal with them and we would welcome constructive engagement from congress to accomplish this goal. but again, democrat and republican foreign policy experts have acknowledged is the right goal. that's closing the prison at guantanamo bay. bill? >> apart from the funding, governor scott has called on the administration saying wies combat should be able to he zika virus.
3:04 am
>> i know that public health professionals at the c.d.c. have been engaged with their counterparts even before it was detected in florida. we have been focused on robust, effective state and local and federal coordination on this so if there are any differences of opinion about this, you know, i would refer to c.d.c. for how we can work through them. >> it seems there are repeated requests that haven't been answered. >> i'm not sure what they are. you might check with the c.d.c.. if there is a hold up maybe they can tell you what they might be. it is possible it is related to the insufficient funding that republicans and congress have provided for this effort. [applause]
3:05 am
>> the c-span radio app makes it easy to follow the 2016 election wherever you are. get audio coverage and up to the minute schedule information for c-span radio and television plus podcast times for our popular public affairs book and history programs. c-span's radio app means you always have c-span on the go. >> author and environmentalist gretel spent 20 years traveling . greenland >> if you have been following her writing over the years, you'll know her perhaps from her essays. collection of
3:06 am
will read about the american west or her astonishing memoir about being struck i lightning. she won the inaugural 2010 throw award -- therough award. tonight, she is here to talk to us about greenland, about climate change, about rotten ice. tonight she is here to talk to us about greenland, about climate change. about rotten ice. as noted today on n.p.r., if you think today is hot, you're right. if you think this year is hot, you're right. the latest temperature numbers from nasa and the latest numbers from the oceanic atmosphere say that the numbers are the hottest
3:07 am
on record in the planet. beginning in 1993, gretel ehrlich traveled to greenland. the northern most country in the world in every season. they have four months of perpetual dark, four months of constant daylight, in the twilight seasons in between. traveling up the west coast, often by the dogsled, listening to their narratives and observing changes in their traditional hunting. s she reminded us in her stirring essay on greenland in harp ears in 2016, story essay in harpers in 2015, what happens at the top of the world affects all of us. we are deeply honored to have gretel back. and in conversation with her is someone she knows well, her husband, someone who -- neil conan worked as a correspondent in new york, washington and has overed wars in the middle east
3:08 am
in northern ireland, olympic games in lake placid in sarajevo nd presidential impeachment. he served in various times as producer and executive producer of all things considered. i miss him and you probably do too as a long-time "talk of the nation." a news analyst and macadamia nut farmer. so please welcome gretel ehrlich and neil conan. [applause] neil: when you first went to greenland in 1993, you brought a couple of books with you. hat were they? gretel: they were two of the 13 volumes of [indiscernible] who had traveled in the 1920's from greenland to of point hope
3:09 am
laska. if it wasn't for rasmussen, we would know very little of arctic culture. neil: what did we learn from him? gretel: everything. people originally came across the bering land bridge from northeastern siberia. and they have year-by-year, perhaps 20,000 years ago, first to alaska and then to archipelago, what we call the northwest passage was really the traditional passageway east for them. and they ended up in greenland roughly 5000 years ago. it's one language. there's a lot of dialects. one life way with some variations, according to where they were and what they needed to do to get food.
3:10 am
but it's the only single culture that spans 6000 miles just across the top. it wasn't like they said, oh, we are not going to move to santa monica. i don't really like the beach. [laughter] they didn't know there was anything else except ice. neil: i got to go with you to remind a few years ago. one of the things i was astonished by, we went to a city less than halfway up the west coast of greenland, and you think you are pretty far north, but you are not. there is a long way left to go. gretel: right. the island of greenland is huge and long. but i began, because of rasmussen, i began going to the northernmost villages, the two of them -- they are about 77 degrees, 77, 78 degrees latitude
3:11 am
north. i was there because -- because of rathmussen. there was a young inuit marine mammal hunter there. he had done the same trip in the 970's instead of the 20's. i went there thinking i could have him take me on the trip. and i finally met him and asked him, he said no. that trip was very hard. you don't want to stay and do that. stay here with us. travel with us. eaning his family. you'll see present, which i did. neil: if you could bring up lide 11.
3:12 am
gretel: that is me. and yence. that is my favorite picture of myself ever. it is about 20 below that day. we had been on a long trip. the coldest of which was 59 low zero. 20 below felt really good. we decided to stop and sunbathe. [laughter] neil: what were the villages like? gretel: they were vibrant. it does not have a lot of villages but they are vibrant. villages of about 20-75 people. maybe a few more. carmack is sort of a town. the dog population was larger than the human population.
3:13 am
as you can see, we travel on big sleds. they are about 12 feet long. 12 feet across. they are pulled by 15-20 dogs. in a fan. these dogs are half wild. they are not taken into the house as they are in alaska. the canine population was the most -- it was the symphony every night. it was howling every night. they are chained up on long chains. in the old days, they ate a few abies. they were against the big rock wall. he sound of them echoed.
3:14 am
howling and talking to each other. it was delicious. it was never something that you try to get away from. it was part of the music of greenland. neil: i was astonished to realize how little of life is on land and how much is at sea. gretel: what most people don't understand is all of travelers on sea ice. the davis strait and north of the kennedy channel are relatively narrow. on a clear day you can see the sland. nothing grows there. there are no barriers. -- berries. there is nothing. flesh of marine mammals.
3:15 am
they hunt with rifles. neil: where did they get them? gretel: they got them as a present from robert from helping him get near the north pole. they still hunt narwall with harpoons from kayaks. they make everything themselves except the rifles. e wear polar bear pants. seal skin boots. fox fur. they make the harnesses and the sleds. hey make their own kayaks. these are indust reese -- industrious villages where there is something going on all the time. neil: this is a conscious decision? they could have snowmobiles. gretel: they ban snowmobiles. they chose to live exactly how hey want to. they work better.
3:16 am
we have thrived for 5000 years. why would we change something that works so well? neil: it is a communal culture. the hunters who go out are not hunting for themselves. gretel: they hunt and extended family groups. it is a food sharing society so that everybody is bad. -- fed. there is no want. widows, injured people, orphans, everybody. the danish schoolteacher. whoever. and me who used to come in the spring. we were all given food. it was not sold. it was given. neil: you talk about the culture that unites these peoples across the top of the world. there is a concept i want you to alk about. "sila."
3:17 am
gretel: it is the first word i learned. it means both weather. the power of nature. and consciousness. not just human consciousness, but the consciousness of all sentient beings. including the marine mammals they eat and it goes beyond that. the souls of animals that appear in the masks that they make for ances. it could be a wolf face with a seal coming out of the mouth where the wolf has eaten the oul of the seal. it is a circular world in which there is no domination of one to the other. you are all there out on the ice together.
3:18 am
neil: the first time you went out hunting with them, what was it like? gretel: i was not squeamish. there was a young woman who later became a prime minister of greenland who had grown up in villages and i met her. she was supposed to come up as uch as i do. she speaks seven languages. she did not show up. typical. i thought, i have come a long way so i might as well go. i went out with two strange men who do not speak english and i did not speak and still don't speak greenlandic. i asked the owner of the guesthouse house if i would be ok and he said, do you think i would send you out on the ice with people who would not take the absolute best care of you? i said, i'm sorry.
3:19 am
i will go. off i went. for a month. where does one go to the bathroom? there are pieces of rough ice. get me some rough ice. he knew a few words. he said right here would be good. [laughter] of course it was extraordinary. neil: the trip was catered? gretel: of course. boiled seal. that was good. we just had seal. [laughter] one year -- i have been doing this for 20 years with the same group. ne year yencebrought an onion.
3:20 am
after about the secondly, he pulls this onion out of his backpack. a danish onion, he pulls out this backpacker we all sort of stood around 80 took out the carbonite and he drops it in the boiling water with the boiling wall us are. it was so exciting. underneath that that, it has all the adamant and minerals that a -- vitamins and minerals that a human being needs. we eat that in each some meat and off we go. neil: what do the dogs eat? gretel: the same thing. they get fed first. i have been on trips where there was only enough food for the ogs. i brought packages of instant
3:21 am
soup so we ate soup. you will not survive without the dogs. they are your transportation. they are taken care of beautifully. neil: you are visiting the site the society -- society that is argely intact. gretel: hunting traditions. languages intact. neil: when did you realize things were changing? gretel: it was 1996. there are two islands and some friends of his were out there. everyone was going to join and hunt together. everything does things as a group. on our way out -- it was pring. usually the dogs can smell that there is water or something but hey did not. uddenly, i heard this crashing
3:22 am
ike goblets being smashed. i did not know what was happening. suddenly, i saw dogs disappear. 20 dogs start disappearing and try to get away and this hole in front of us -- the other ... the back -- the other guy jumped off the back. they used this big steel pole to test the ice and chunk off pieces of ice that you're going to use for drinking. he put it in the back and wrapped the seal sking thong around it to hold the sled back. he yelled at me just stay where you are. hang on. i was hanging on like a cowgirl. the sled was inching towards this hole. he put his feet across and was one hand pulling dogs out of the
3:23 am
water. throwing them. these are strong guys. they are so incredibly brilliant and efficient. you can't believe your eyes. then he got most of them out and stepped off the sled on a piece of ice that had already broken off, and he's a big man and when he stepped on it, that i started going down i can elevator. i thought, goodbye. then he lept from that back onto the sled and got the dogs to turn a hard left and yelled at them and off we went. no one ever said a word. later, we traveled for a few hours. so far, so good. i asked him, if we were going to die.
3:24 am
he said, maybe. there was a smile at the end. [laughter] i just thought, i am in the presence of these extraordinary people and there is nobody left like them in the whole world. if i die here after they'd have done -- they have done everything they can do to save all their lives, i happily surrender. neil: the ice was weak because warming had started to chronically mean there was less and less ice every year. gretel: that is what we did not nderstand. the ice was thinning. i asked -- i just didn't know. after that, i knew something was
3:25 am
wrong. they knew it, too. they said, find out what is going on. so i did. i started a long process of educating myself about sea ice in the greenland ice sheet which is another story. in the feedback systems that create more and more warming. the cycle is ongoing. it is so exponential. not just see ice but the entire world is becoming a hot place. neil: there are even days where it is 59 below zero but the aters are stormy so ice is
3:26 am
breaking from underneath. gretel: the first incident was 1997. by 2004, it was basically all ver. when we took off, we were going off on a month-long walrus hunt. it was 35 below zero. it got colder and colder and colder. for a while the ice was ok. the first camp we made, the ice was somewhat thin. we were told to walk single file and carefully. during the night, we harpooned a walrus and it was brought back to camp. we were staying in little huts. we were staying in this hut with 58 dogs and eight people. it was dripping blood. i thought of it as a metronome
3:27 am
that was marking what i thought of as aboriginal time. this is time without days and schedule. does going between -- just going between one meal and the next hoping you will find enough food in the next place you go. it lulled us into a sense of, the ice is bad and it is reaking from underneath. maybe it will be ok. then it was not. we went on to a village and we were supposed to go out to an island and we were told there was no ice at all. one. the look on their face, i just knew they understood that it was
3:28 am
basically the end of ice and the end of their lives as they had known it for thousands of years. neil: you mentioned the village? retel: it was small. my friend's wife was the great granddaughter of a schoolteacher. she had -- i asked her how many students she had and she said two. sometimes just one. it is a tiny, vibrant village. should i tell the rest of the story? i can't believe the questions he is asking me. [laughter] this is not how it was supposed to go.
3:29 am
neil: we will get to the rest of the story later. you went on this trip with a big group of people. just that one walrus. gretel: that is all. the rest of the trip, as we were moving down the coast of greenland, everything behind us was breaking up. when we turned around, there was o ice in front and very little ice in the back. we had to go up and over part of the ice sheet which is really dangerous and exciting. big crevase. we took air going off and then we went down the stream bed. it was frozen. there were these big boulders and the snow breaks on this so they put rope on the runners.
3:30 am
he put his knee down to slow the sled down and his foot was hitting boulders. we got to the bottom and we did find a place with the previous hunters had left food on the drying rack. they were so relieved that the dogs would have something to eat. we had consumed the walrus. we spent the rest of the month just trying to get home. it took weeks. the previous life where you see me sunbathing, we finally made it out to the islands and made it back to the northernmost illage in the world. it was a disaster.
3:31 am
the families came down when we got back and they saw that there was no food for them. they are very cool people. there was no outward display of disappointment. just, ok. let's unpack the sleds and everyone went home and it was quiet. neil: what happens to a food sharing culture that is fed by subsistence hunters when there is no food and the ice that is the transportation system has --when that begins to go away? gretel: the culture dies. in a practical sense, the lesser hunters -- there is a natural hierarchy. the lesser hunters shot the sled dogs because they cannot feed them. it was better to have the best hunters in the village out and try to get food.
3:32 am
all the young people, these are young people who have been trained to be hunters. you're a national treasure if you are a great hunter. they were all sent south to vocational school or to learn to be a helicopter pilot or electrician or teacher or hatever. things they had no interest in doing. but what choice did they have? little by little, the villages started thinning out. more became consolidated where there was a clinic. he little villages that were precious came to nothing. almost a shakespearean story. everybody had left except for two hunters.
3:33 am
they went out together in a boat in the open ocean. it is hard to hunt seals when it is open and it is dark and you can see the animals. they were out there and a loaded gun off and shot and killed one of the men. the other one, so distraught and lonely, a sense of existential solitude, shot himself. he is no more. neil: over time you've gotten to know more and more about the science behind us. you have gotten to know some other people who work on the ice. in the strikingly handsome soundman. [laughter]
3:34 am
gretel: he has worked at the university of colorado for years and has come back to switzerland. he told us an astonishing thing that water vapor is now the most prolific greenhouse gas because permafrost around the top of the world both terrestrial and the frozen things under the sea. there are 570 sites on the east coast and atlantic ocean releasing methane. it is everywhere. things are melting and it looks moisture up into the air. this moisture travels across the top of the world. it changes. it is not all about global warming.
3:35 am
it's also about climate chaos. i'm sure those of you who keep up with the news know-how stormy and crazy things have become. you go ahead. you are asking the questions. [laughter] neil: as you have learned more about the science, the effect on the sea ice has been so dramatic. where it used to be nine months of sea ice, nine months for these hunters to travel to the various hunting grounds. there is no as little as two. gretel: the ice used to come in mid-september and go out id-june.
3:36 am
ow sometimes in march or april or may and sometimes in january. this year was a cold beer up there and everyone was excited and they maybe had three or four months of hunting. then i got a tweet from a young laciologist and he said that this clump of warm air is heading north up over greenland. then a friend of ours said, yes, on april 8 this mass of warm air and all the ice melted. it was over. it doesn't really matter if they have one month or six months, they can't depend on it. t would be like if every
3:37 am
grocery store was closed indefinitely or every once in a while they opened. you can understand how to live. everything starts coming apart. neil: what does it matter for us here that this fascinating and ibrant culture is dying? gretel: i just think of the pairing of climate and culture. that cultural diversity has intertwined and is as important as biological diversity. so that having these people, against all arts are living a traditional life but fully cognizant of the modern world. with a language intact. they have a way of knowing themselves and their world with language that not only describes a place that tells you how to behave with the weather. how to make sure the concept of "sila" is alive and everything ou do.
3:38 am
this awareness of consciousness. there is a sense of respect and dignity and of action that makes culture thrive. you lose that. we have mostly killed off all of the indigenous cultures that we came across in the lower latitudes. it makes it even more precious that there are some still alive. in terms of just our weather, i
3:39 am
call it bad weather. i'm sick of climate change. i just call it bad weather. that the arctic dress the climate of the world. the most important word is albino which means white. the road reflected the of snow and ice all over the world radiate 80% of solar heat back into the space. it is what -- the arctic heat has been keeping our latitudes temperate. it is a natural air-conditioner. it has been functioning for a long time. as things start to melt and sea ice disappears as the greenland ice sheet collects ash from wildfires and soot from industry and algae blooms on top of the
3:40 am
ice, it can absorb more heat and deflects less heat. ou have all these feedback systems that same insignificant and fragile that when they start adding up, you get a hotter and hotter world as we are all experiencing. the arctic is important in just about every way you can imagine. neil: you went back to greenland in 2012. what was it like? gretel: everything had changed. when we used to go out on these hunts, even in 2004, people were still jolly. there was lots of kidding around. ike all rural communities. people were teasing each other and the prospect of getting food for the village and the dogs were great. it was great to be out of the village and living on the
3:41 am
ice. in 2012, i went in may, they only had ice for that month. we were all going to this place for a time of celebration. the ice starts to come apart in these wide canals of open water. it is where the life comes. a pod of beluga whales and walrus and little birds are flying. it is joyous. during winter, it is a frozen sheet where we did not see life. it was not a happy time. there were no jokes. no one was laughing. i traveled with the brother-in-law of my friend, he had a shattered ankle when he went across the ice sheet by
3:42 am
himself to hunt musk oxe because there was nothing else to feed the dogs. he shattered his ankle. it took two weeks to get to the hospital. he was not in great shape. we went to the ice edge. the younger guys, his two younger brothers got a couple of walrus re and then -- and then we made camp. suddenly during the night these other hunters came and camp in back of us. that is never done. they were usurping our hunting territory. but the greenlanders are cool. they never say anything. the next day i hear all the screaming and the dog howling and this man is beating this dog with a snow shovel.
3:43 am
ust over the head. i have never seen any kind of violence towards animals ever in 20 years in greenland. i jumped up to run over and i don't know what i was going to do. he grabbed my arm and said no, no, you might be hurt too. no one said -- the dog survived but the mood changed in the next morning we left. we were so horrified by what we ad seen. on the way back, mamaret was trying to untangle the lines. the dogs go underneath each other all the time and have
3:44 am
their own society. he was trying to untangle them. the dogs ran ahead and caught his bad leg and he was dragged for a long way. i fried to stop the dogs. because they didn't know me, they didn't stop. can stop yence's dog but not he others. finally they stopped. it represented the end of ice and their culture. he end when things went wrong, it can happen quickly in the arctic. you're at the mercy of the weather. even that was always a joke. oh, yeah, we're caught in a blizzard. but they were always happy because they could go out another day.
3:45 am
everything would be all right. that was gone. it was a sad day. neil: yance once told you something about the ice. gretel: one day we were standing there looking out over the ice. he said, i don't see the ice wanting to come back. the ice is everything we are. without it, it will be a disaster. without ice, we are nothing at all. neil: in a couple of minutes, we will take questions if you would like to join the onversation. ut first, as i have been queued, we saw yence and mamaret in paris. we all went for the climate
3:46 am
change conference. it started in early december just after the terrorist incidents in paris. in fact, they were there. gretel: we were going to do everal events and a small film in which we brought a dogsled to paris. we had a dog trainer training 10 standard poodles to pull the sled. [laughter] it was in jollier times before the savagery in paris. we thought people might find it slightly interesting. yence was going to get off and give a talk about how the arctic climate -- what has happened to his culture and so it was meant to raise awareness while having a slight -- having fun with it.
3:47 am
of course, the horrible things appened. district.l staying in a few blocks from the places where people were mowed down. yence and mamaret were terrified. these are courageous people but they said, i don't understand why people who have nothing to do each other who came from another country or killing people. i don't understand why they would kill each other. it is hard to explain. we made it into a six bedroom loft and we were told to stay in our neighborhoods which we would anyway. anything else would be a betrayal of the solemnity after this.
3:48 am
i ended up cooking for them. i cooked every night for hem. the glaciologist came. i was cooking for 5-15 people every night. which is a pleasure in paris because the food is so great. i would say we're having salad now. i always had lots of meat. it was a wonderful exchange given all the sadness with all that was going on in the world. i had been eating walrus and seal for 20 years and now they ad to eat my food. they just reminded us that they had been displaced in a way that many, many people already are
3:49 am
not only from wars and political oppression, but also from climate. many of us will be climate igrants. we were so astonished at how gracefully they accepted their fate. neil: it is interesting, the people who were the engine of the agreement that was finally eached were marshall islanders and other islanders in the pacific that said any agreement would come too late for hem. even if we shut off the carbon generation right now, there is enough baked into the system that it would be too late for them. is it going to be too late for greenland? gretel: yes. it is too late for all of us, really. we can slow things down. we can work on things. it is not going to be the same world. we have lived in this
3:50 am
interglacial paradise. absolute paradise and that paradise is now lost. it is going to be a different world. a challenging world. many great things will be lost. many cultures, many cities, many eople. as the head of glaciology at cambridge who i was in a plane with said, it is too late to stop global warming. but now it is to deal with the consequences and work very hard at that and diligently. there will be social justice problems that will go beyond what we have imagined so far.
3:51 am
can i end it now? there is a wonderful japanese man who came there following a climber the their early 70's. i went to see him. he is a wonderful man. there only two people left where he is. there used to be 65 or 70 people. i said, how are you going to survive? he said, i don't know. erhaps just on beauty. as we looked out at icebergs going by in the open water. i end with that. we live in a different world but it is still beautiful. i will end on that. [applause]
3:52 am
neil: i think the staff is going to be coming around with microphones. >> three questions. re there any pictures of the city -- town? i can't imagine what it looks like when you land in a town? any slides? retel: no. >> ok. no worries. you can go online. are people emigrating in large numbers? gretel: they are just going south. >> neil, can i listen to your show on the internet? it there an app for your station? neil: go on to hawaii public radio. it is especially good if you


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on