WITH GRATITUDE

Team Sedna is incredibly grateful to Santi for acting as the anchor sponsor of this expedition, providing the group with heated drysuits, expedition wear and continuous support.

TEAM MEMBERS

Susan R. Eaton - Expedition Leader

Susan R. Eaton, founder and leader of the 2014-2016 SEDNA Epic Expedition, is a Calgary-based geologist, geophysicist, conservationist and journalist. Eight years ago, Susan suffered a scuba diving trauma that landed her in a hyperbaric chamber and ended her diving career. Undaunted, her life-long relationship with the ocean (which had included teaching diving) didn’t end in the hyperbaric chamber.

Today, Susan explores the world’s oceans—from Antarctica to the Arctic—in the snorkel zone, a dynamic land-sea-air-ice interface where large animals approach snorkelers and where the exhalations of marine mammals and snorkelers often comingle. A member of the Explorers Club, she will lead Team Narwhal.

Dr. Caroline Bain

Dr. Caroline Bain is a dive instructor and physician with a family practice in Calgary. Trained in hyperbaric (diving) medicine, Caroline also treats patients with scuba diving traumas. As the Sedna Expedition’s physician, Caroline will monitor the safety of the snorkelers and divers in waters that can approach minus two degrees Celsius. She’ll also conduct hyperbaric research—including administering WIFI pills to the snorkelers to transmit vital core body temperature data—ensuring that they are medically fit to snorkel and scuba dive in unforgiving arctic waters.

Ruby Banwait

Ruby Banwait is an aquarium biologist at the Vancouver Aquarium who specializes in fishes and invertebrates of the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic. In 2013, Ruby assisted in opening the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium, one of the world’s few catch-and-release style facilities. As the mini-aquarium’s curator and dive safety officer, Ruby introduced some 17,000 visitors to the flora and fauna of the North Atlantic, during the first six months of the mini aquarium’s operations, discussing sustainable fisheries and the coastal culture of Newfoundland.

Charlene Barker

Charlene Barker is a Calgary-based master dive instructor and cave diver with a passion for ice diving in mountain lakes and exploring cenotes (sink holes and their associated cave systems) in the Yucatan Peninsula. A member of the 2013 Royal Canadian Geographic Society-sponsored Raspberry Rising Expedition, Charlene has dived beneath British Columbia’s mountains which host some of the most unexplored and deepest cave systems in the world. The founder of two of Canada’s most successful scuba stores—in the land-locked prairies—Charlene has introduced more than 12,000 adults and youths to the joys of scuba diving and snorkeling.

Erika Bergman

Erika Bergman is a Seattle-based chemical oceanographer, educator and submersible pilot who ‘flies’ a five-man submarine, exploring the ocean down to 300 meters. Erika has three years of experience, as a manned submersible pilot and technician, for submersibles including Antipodes, Suds, Curasub, and Idabel. Named a 2013 National Geographic Young Explorer, Erika recently conducted a National Geographic expedition to study the deep coral reefs of the islands of Curaçao and Roatan. An engaging story teller, she uses her submersible as a vehicle to inspire students to explore the oceans and to pursue marine careers.

Emily Dowding-Smith

Emily Dowding-Smith is based in Auckland. Called to the bar in New Zealand, Emily is a lawyer with a masters degree in environmental science, policy and management. An avid scuba diver, she seeks creative solutions to environmental challenges, effecting positive change through awareness and education. During the past six years, she has worked in Germany on climate change issues. Emily convened the program and sessions of the 3rd and 4th Global Forums on Urban Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change for ICLEI, in Bonn, Germany.

Francoise Gervais

Françoise Gervais is a deep-sea explorer, environmental conservation specialist, educator, photographer and cold-water diver based in Victoria. Employed with Ocean Networks Canada, Françoise has participated in a number of oceanographic expeditions, surveying and cataloging the ocean’s deep sea organisms. She has conducted bird surveys for Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy, and has contributed to the creation of several natural reserves. A native of Québec, la belle province, extreme environments are in her blood and she feels at home when most challenged by them.

Jill Heinerth

Jill Heinerth is an underwater explorer, dive instructor, filmmaker and cave diver based in Gainesville, Florida. In 2013, Jill and her husband cycled 7,000 kilometres across Canada to raise awareness of water conservation issues. The recipient of numerous international awards, including the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s 2013 Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration, she led a National Geographic expedition to Antarctica, being the first person to explore the inside of an iceberg. A fellow of the Explorers Club and an inductee in the inaugural class of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Jill will lead Team Beluga and assist in filming the July 2014 Expedition.

Becky Kagan Schott

Becky Kagan Schott is an Emmy award-winning underwater videographer, journalist and dive instructor from Philadelphia. Her work can be seen on National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Becky has worked closely with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory using the latest in high-definition and 3D technology, both above and below the surface. A fellow of the Explorers Club and an inductee in the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Becky believes in advancing marine conservation through using her compelling imagery. Becky will film the July 2014 Expedition.

Renata Rojas

Renata Rojas is a Mexican master diver based in New York. Renata has world-wide experience which includes cage diving with the great white sharks of Guadalupe. Born in Mexico City, Renata started diving in Cozumel, at the age of twelve. Her childhood fascination with the RMS Titanic culminated with Renata joining the 2012 Titanic Expedition to dive (in a submersible) more than 12,000 feet to the ship’s final resting place. Renata’ dive was cancelled twice but she still dreams of diving on the RMS Titanic one day. Out of the water, she works for a large European bank, as a director of loan syndications and trading, with a focus on Latin America.

WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT SEA ICE?

Most scientists agree that the Arctic Ocean will be mostly free of ice in the summer in the near future. Whether it happens in the next ten or thirty years, the future is clear.

A warmer planet

Sea ice is reflective, bouncing the sun’s rays back into space. When it melts, the dark blue ocean absorbs heat. Later on, the heat is released back into the atmosphere, heating up the rest of the planet. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than anywhere else on earth – about three times faster.

Higher sea levels

As the Arctic ice melts, it adds freshwater to the oceans. The melting of the massive ice sheet covering Greenland may eventually contribute to a rise of up to 9 millimeters. That might not seem like much, but it is enough to dramatically change life in coastal communities around the world.3. Thawing permafrost amplifies warming.

Loss of permafrost

Scientists are concerned about materials that are currently locked up in permanently frozen regions of the north. As they thaw, they will release carbon dioxide, methane and other gases that contribute to the overall greenhouse gases that can further accelerate warming.

Changing ocean currents

As freshwater runs into the sea, it produces a different overall map of water temperatures on earth. Ocean currents act as conveyor belts delivering waters that either warm or cool a particular region. The Gulf Stream brings water up from the south to create a relatively warm British climate. Precipitation follows these currents too. If they shift or slow down, these regional climates could be very different in the future. A changing regional climate affects food supply, water distribution and everything about a known way of life.

Stormy weather

Many North Americans would scoff at the suggestion of global warming after experiencing the harsh North American winter of 2013-2014. However, this is indeed a symptom of global climate change. As temperatures rise quickly in the Arctic, they eclipse the changes further south. There is a greater temperate and pressure gradient that results in the right conditions for severe weather. With the Jet Stream meandering further south in less predictable ways, the very cold Arctic air reaches much lower latitudes in North America. Where the cold and warm air meet, extreme weather erupts.

Did You Know?

Sea ice is declining in the Arctic, but that loss is not directly responsible for rising sea level. Think about a cold drink filled with ice cubes. When the cubes melt, the glass will not overflow.
When a glacier or ice sheet on land melts, it directly contributes to more water in the ocean and rising sea level.
The problem with melting sea ice is that the open ocean is dark and absorbs sunlight and heat, causing more ice to melt. This relationship is known as a feedback loop.

Explorer in Residence

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Sedna Expedition, Sidemount Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments

In June 2016 I was named the first Explorer in Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. One of the major goals of the program will be to find funding that will enable school visits and online outreach to kids across Canada. I’ll be sharing the journey of exploration and encouraging kids to dream and discover their world. I’ll also be offering critical lessons about water literacy along the way. I created this video to support fundraising efforts in progress.

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Canadian Geographic Covers Women Explorers

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Sedna Expedition, Sidemount Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments

RCGScoverJill Heinerth graces the cover of this month’s Canadian Geographic Magazine. The edition hits newsstands July 4, 2016 and covers Canada’s Greatest Women Explorers. Jill Heinerth is featured as the new Explorer in Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

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Jill Heinerth Talks Adventure with Suunto

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Sedna Expedition, Sidemount Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments
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Acceptance Speech for Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer in Residence Appointment

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j_heinerth_newcardOn June 8, 2016 Jill Heinerth was appointed as the first Explorer in Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Here is an audio link to her acceptance speech which is written below.

Acceptance of the RCGS Appointment as the Inaugural Explorer in Residence

June 8, 2016 on the occasion of World Oceans Day

Delivered at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

by Jill Heinerth

I hit the geography jackpot. I was born in Cooksville, Ontario in 1965 when the world was opening and anything was possible. Generation X they called us, post-boomers, baby busters, latch-key kids. An independent generation that launched with common media experiences like watching man walk on the moon and expanded to ubiquitous media and access to information that was unprecedented.

My parents encouraged me to chase my dreams, and see the world as one global community. We owned a spinning globe, an illustrated atlas and my grandfather’s basement closet full of his lifetime subscription to National Geographic magazine. My Dad loved maps, treasuring his collection of topographics that he would use to plan our family canoe trips. We discussed different cultures and places around the family dinner table, and I grew up knowing that the world was open and our knowledge of it was expanding in every direction.

I was encouraged to participate in Girl Guides, loved weekend hiking on the Bruce Trail and treasured canoe camping experiences above all else. I’m sure my parents cringed when I came home bloodied or muddied. I know they were terrified when I struck out on my own to backpack around Europe. But nothing prepared them for the announcement when I declared that I was selling my advertising and graphics business to forge a creative career in the underwater world.

Today my business card title reads “Explorer.” It is the best descriptive “handle” I can find for my work.

Now you might wonder what place a cave diver has taking on this new role as Explorer in Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society? I spend my time swimming through dark places that few people will ever see or comprehend. I  swim through the veins of Mother Earth, within the lifeblood of the planet. In the pulsing vitality of your drinking water, I explore corridors filled with the very source of life. Water is the nourishment for mankind, the animal kingdom and agriculture that feed us all. I swim in the beginning of the pipe, where water wells up from the ground to serve as the source for creeks and rivers that reach estuaries that act as nursery grounds for the inhabitants of our oceans… the oceans that fulfill their role as the oxygen generating lungs of our planet.

Much of my work takes place in this hidden geography of the planet… I swim through the world’s secret places inside aquifer caves, descending deep on ocean walls, exploring beneath Arctic ice and into historic shipwrecks. Through these adventures, I hope to connect people to their water resources and make this hidden geography a little less abstract.

There is no doubt that water is the defining issue of my generation. When oceans acidify, ecosystems collapse. When community water supplies dry up, unrest follows. When resources are despoiled by individuals or industry, we all lose. Water rich nations can thrive if they manage and protect their most precious asset.

Canada’s hidden geography includes over 200,000 kilometers of coastline, more than any other country in the world. 8 percent of our territory is covered by lakes – more lake area than any other country in the world. We possess 9 per cent of the world’s renewable fresh water, yet only half a percent of the global population. And according to a Nanos Policy Opinions Poll, 62 percent of Canadians regard fresh water as the country’s most important natural resource; even over oil, gas and forestry. A Circle of Blue commissioned global study found that for two-thirds of us, key issues include water pollution and the lack of safe drinking water.

The health of Canadians is significantly affected by accessibility to clean, safe water. Each year 90,000 Canadians fall ill from waterborne pathogens and 90 people die according to Environment Canada. As many as 75% of water systems on First Nations reserve communities have significant threats to the quality and quantity of drinking water. In the past several years, 25 per cent of Canadian municipalities have experienced periodic water shortages. People do not know where their water comes from or how they can better protect it. Many of us don’t realize how we are unintentionally over-using water in our daily activities and choices.

Our waterways offer commercial and recreational fishing, tourism and recreation. Our abundant reserves support the production of goods. Water irrigates our crops and bolsters the food and beverage industry. Flood control, drought mitigation, environmental purification and reserves for biodiversity; we ask a lot of our hidden geography.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society has never had an Explorer in Residence. In fact, we’re still trying to figure out what my role will entail and how we can fund some of these new initiatives. But I am a persistent dreamer who believes that once you set a plan in motion, anything is possible. My life is testament to that fact. And so I am aiming for two key goals.

First, I want to reach deep into the educational system to inspire young people to explore…. both in person and through modern online outreach opportunities. I want today’s youth to understand that the world is at their fingertips through a connected global community. I want young people to recognize that they can make bold moves creating new careers and initiatives to solve emerging problems that are important to them. I want them to know that anything is made possible through diligence and teamwork.

Secondly, I want to share my adventures to help nurture a better connection between Canadians and their water resources. I want us all to celebrate and protect the summer arrival of humpback whales feeding on swarms of capelin in Newfoundland. I want to inspire parents to take their kids to Lake Winnipeg to play, so they will want to keep safe the vast watershed it serves. I want our citizens to learn from our First Nations fore-bearers about how to live in better harmony with our natural resources. I want to help my fellow Canadians understand that everything we do to the surface of our land will be returned to us to drink. I want to us to fully embrace how water flows into and out of our lives.

For me this appointment fulfills a life dream. The dream of a little girl who was told that nothing was impossible. The dream of a young Girl Guide who was taught how to live in balance with her world. The dream of a woman who discovered that doing what you love nets far greater gains than can be measured by a paycheck.

I may travel the world for much of my work, but I am a proud Canadian who recognizes that our fate and fortune of geography offers us a unique place in this world. When the world finds itself in conflict, people often turn to Canada… a stable, fair, responsible player on the world stage. En tant que Canadiens, nous avons la possibilité de diriger le monde par notre exemple. Nous pouvons vivre en paix et en harmonie avec notre planète de l’eau. As Canadians we have an opportunity to lead the world by our example. That we can live in peace and harmony with our water planet. Thank you for entrusting me with this humbling and exciting new role for the years ahead.

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Jill Heinerth appointed as the first Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer in Residence

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Sedna Expedition, Sidemount Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments

On June 8, 2016 Jill Heinerth was appointed as the inaugural Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer in Residence. Upon acceptance of the honor she gave the following speech at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.

Acceptance of the RCGS Appointment as the Inaugural Explorer in Residence

June 8, 2016 on the occasion of World Oceans Day

Delivered at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

I hit the geography jackpot. I was born in Cooksville, Ontario in 1965 when the world was opening and anything was possible. Generation X they called us, post-boomers, baby busters, latch-key kids. An independent generation that launched with common media experiences like watching man walk on the moon and expanded to ubiquitous media and access to information that was unprecedented.

My parents encouraged me to chase my dreams, and see the world as one global community. We owned a spinning globe, an illustrated atlas and my grandfather’s basement closet full of his lifetime subscription to National Geographic magazine. My Dad loved maps, treasuring his collection of topographics that he would use to plan our family canoe trips. We discussed different cultures and places around the family dinner table, and I grew up knowing that the world was open and our knowledge of it was expanding in every direction.

I was encouraged to participate in Girl Guides, loved weekend hiking on the Bruce Trail and treasured canoe camping experiences above all else. I’m sure my parents cringed when I came home bloodied or muddied. I know they were terrified when I struck out on my own to backpack around Europe. But nothing prepared them for the announcement when I declared that I was selling my advertising and graphics business to forge a creative career in the underwater world.

Today my business card title reads “Explorer.” It is the best descriptive “handle” I can find for my work.

Now you might wonder what place a cave diver has taking on this new role as Explorer in Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society? I spend my time swimming through dark places that few people will ever see or comprehend. I  swim through the veins of Mother Earth, within the lifeblood of the planet. In the pulsing vitality of your drinking water, I explore corridors filled with the very source of life. Water is the nourishment for mankind, the animal kingdom and agriculture that feed us all. I swim in the beginning of the pipe, where water wells up from the ground to serve as the source for creeks and rivers that reach estuaries that act as nursery grounds for the inhabitants of our oceans… the oceans that fulfill their role as the oxygen generating lungs of our planet.

Much of my work takes place in this hidden geography of the planet… I swim through the world’s secret places inside aquifer caves, descending deep on ocean walls, exploring beneath Arctic ice and into historic shipwrecks. Through these adventures, I hope to connect people to their water resources and make this hidden geography a little less abstract.

There is no doubt that water is the defining issue of my generation. When oceans acidify, ecosystems collapse. When community water supplies dry up, unrest follows. When resources are despoiled by individuals or industry, we all lose. Water rich nations can thrive if they manage and protect their most precious asset.

Canada’s hidden geography includes over 200,000 kilometers of coastline, more than any other country in the world. 8 percent of our territory is covered by lakes – more lake area than any other country in the world. We possess 9 per cent of the world’s renewable fresh water, yet only half a percent of the global population. And according to a Nanos Policy Opinions Poll, 62 percent of Canadians regard fresh water as the country’s most important natural resource; even over oil, gas and forestry. A Circle of Blue commissioned global study found that for two-thirds of us, key issues include water pollution and the lack of safe drinking water.

The health of Canadians is significantly affected by accessibility to clean, safe water. Each year 90,000 Canadians fall ill from waterborne pathogens and 90 people die according to Environment Canada. As many as 75% of water systems on First Nations reserve communities have significant threats to the quality and quantity of drinking water. In the past several years, 25 per cent of Canadian municipalities have experienced periodic water shortages. People do not know where their water comes from or how they can better protect it. Many of us don’t realize how we are unintentionally over-using water in our daily activities and choices.

Our waterways offer commercial and recreational fishing, tourism and recreation. Our abundant reserves support the production of goods. Water irrigates our crops and bolsters the food and beverage industry. Flood control, drought mitigation, environmental purification and reserves for biodiversity; we ask a lot of our hidden geography.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society has never had an Explorer in Residence. In fact, we’re still trying to figure out what my role will entail and how we can fund some of these new initiatives. But I am a persistent dreamer who believes that once you set a plan in motion, anything is possible. My life is testament to that fact. And so I am aiming for two key goals.

First, I want to reach deep into the educational system to inspire young people to explore…. both in person and through modern online outreach opportunities. I want today’s youth to understand that the world is at their fingertips through a connected global community. I want young people to recognize that they can make bold moves creating new careers and initiatives to solve emerging problems that are important to them. I want them to know that anything is made possible through diligence and teamwork.

Secondly, I want to share my adventures to help nurture a better connection between Canadians and their water resources. I want us all to celebrate and protect the summer arrival of humpback whales feeding on swarms of capelin in Newfoundland. I want to inspire parents to take their kids to Lake Winnipeg to play, so they will want to keep safe the vast watershed it serves. I want our citizens to learn from our First Nations fore-bearers about how to live in better harmony with our natural resources. I want to help my fellow Canadians understand that everything we do to the surface of our land will be returned to us to drink. I want to us to fully embrace how water flows into and out of our lives.

For me this appointment fulfills a life dream. The dream of a little girl who was told that nothing was impossible. The dream of a young Girl Guide who was taught how to live in balance with her world. The dream of a woman who discovered that doing what you love nets far greater gains than can be measured by a paycheck.

I may travel the world for much of my work, but I am a proud Canadian who recognizes that our fate and fortune of geography offers us a unique place in this world. When the world finds itself in conflict, people often turn to Canada… a stable, fair, responsible player on the world stage. En tant que Canadiens, nous avons la possibilité de diriger le monde par notre exemple. Nous pouvons vivre en paix et en harmonie avec notre planète de l’eau. As Canadians we have an opportunity to lead the world by our example. That we can live in peace and harmony with our water planet. Thank you for entrusting me with this humbling and exciting new role for the years ahead.

World Ocean’s Day Presentation

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Robert McClellan, Sedna Expedition, Sidemount Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments

RCGScoverPlease join me for a special event on World Ocean’s Day, June 8 at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, Canada. At 7pm, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society will be making a very special and historic announcement followed by my talk. I’ll be sharing thoughts about exploration, science and the RCGS Expedition of the Year to Bell Island, Newfoundland.

Free Seminars at DEMA Trade Show

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For those attending the DEMA Trade Show in Orlando this week, please join me at one of my free seminars!

Thursday, November 5 10 – 11 am in Room S310F Size Matters: Lean and Mean Pro Video

Professional explorer Jill Heinerth talks about the new paradigm of videography for expeditions and professional shoots where a small footprint and lightweight gear yields huge results. She’ll talk about how small cameras paired with Light and Motion’s bulletproof lights can make magic for television, store marketing and great vacation memories.

Friday, November 6 1-1:45 pm at the Image Resource Center on the Show Floor – Booth #357 Quality in Carryon

Professional explorer and filmmaker, Jill Heinerth will feature exciting images and video clips from caves and wrecks around the world, sharing tips on how to shoot 4K video and magazine ready still images from a camera package that easily fits in the overhead luggage bin.

2-3 pm in Room S330B Exploration

Suunto Ambassador, Explorer, Cave Diver and Film Maker Jill Heinerth

Jill Heinerth presents vignettes from her expeditions using interesting technology in underwater caves and deep ocean environments.

Saturday, November 7  11-11:45 at the Technical Diving Resource Center Show Floor booth #1757 The Science of Cave Diving

Jill Heinerth shares stories of scientific expeditions around the world and how cave divers have supported research and exploration.

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Sexism in the Scuba Industry Article Available

By | All Posts, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Sedna Expedition, Sidemount Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments

DIVER_V40_I7sexism-1lDIVER Magazine has once again demonstrated great leadership by posting my cover feature on sexism online. It is available here as a PDF download or on the DIVER Magazine website.

PDF File: DIVER Magazine Article

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Jill Joins Diver Medic and Aquatic Safety Magazine Team as Technical Advisor

By | All Posts, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Sedna Expedition, Sidemount Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, Women Underwater | No Comments

DiverMedicCoverJill Heinerth was invited by Chantelle Taylor Newman to join the team of Diver Medic and Aquatic Safety Magazine as a Technical Advisor and contributor. Read their current issue.

Cover: Diver Ron Carmichael at Blue Grotto Spring. Photo: Jill Heinerth

 

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Earth’s Changes in Surprising Ways as Ice Melts

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FEB1JILLThis article in the Daily Beast confirms a simple truth. As we lose large areas of ice cover, the earth changes in dramatic ways. When I wrote the movie Ice Island in 2000, I learned that the ice was so thick over Antarctic that is squeezed the earth into a slight pear shape. The large mass also affects gravity and as we shift mass around the planet by melting ice, there are documentable changes that are happening very quickly. The Daily Beast sums it up well.

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The Expedition

In July 2016, a team of ten passionate women will embark on an epic three-month journey, snorkeling over 3,000 kilometers through frigid Arctic seas from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Supported by a mother ship equipped with two rigid hull boats, the snorkelers will scout and document the impacts of global warming on this fragile arctic ecosystem and on the aboriginal peoples’ traditional ways of life.

Through cross-cultural dialogue and educational outreach, the 2014-2016 Sedna Epic Expedition will record on-the-ground climate change observations of Inuit and Inuvialuit Elders. Providing educational and life role models, Team Sedna will reach out to Inuit and Inuvialuit women and girls, empowering them to build resilient communities to combat the impacts of climate change.

Immersing itself in the issue of disappearing sea ice, Team Sedna will translate its findings into educational and awareness programs on climate change and disappearing sea ice. The Expedition will serve as a “call to action” for citizens of the world, including youth, providing aboriginal and scientific knowledge to inform governments on implementing science-based policies to mitigate global warming. The Expedition will also serve to inspire women and girls to think “big,” and to follow their dreams, no matter how out of the box they may appear…

Before tackling the 100-day Northwest Passage Snorkel Relay during the summer of 2016, Team Sedna will mount an 15-day, action-packed expedition in July 2014. Traveling aboard the 116-foot MV Cape Race, along the Labrador coast to Baffin Island and across the Davis Strait to Western Greenland, the sea women will conduct team-building exercises, perform oceanographic studies, deliver educational outreach in Inuit communities and broadcast their findings to the world. Further, they’ll demonstrate that snorkelers—using diver propulsion vehicles—can successfully ‘go the distance’ through ice-infested arctic waters.

The Mythology of Sedna

Sedna is an ancient Inuit goddess of the sea. Her mythology has been retold by storytellers from the indigenous peoples of the North. Inuit peoples describe a teenage girl who refused to marry a man prescribed by her father. She ran away with a mysterious masked figure who turned out to be a Fulmar seabird. Her father rescued her from the sea bird colony, but when they attacked him in his kayak, he threw his daughter overboard. As she clung to the edge of the boat, he cut off her fingers one by one. Sedna slipped below the waves and as her fingers dropped below the surface they each took the form of a marine mammal. Sometimes angry with mankind, Sedna releases violent storms and waves. For millennia, Inuit Shamans have entered the sea to soothe her and comb her long black hair. Once calmed, Sedna releases the seals and whales for a bountiful hunt.

Sedna’s Reach

Illustration by Jill Heinerth