We are Northern people, our bodies and spirits shaped by the ice and snow for forty thousand years. The weak, those who could not cooperate, those who could not plan ahead, perished in the harsh environment. The result is - us. Reduced to our essence, we are strong and stern, able to both compete and cooperate. Our capability for delayed gratification and frugality is well known. We are survivors. While not all of us epitomize all these traits all the time, they are the underlying template of our being.
What a tragedy if the landscape that forged us became only a memory!
In the farthest north, the land where the Pole Star sits atop the World Tree, things are especially bad. The Arctic is heating twice as fast as the rest of the planet. The realm of the Axis Mundi itself is undergoing drastic change. If the Great Ice is gone and only bare ocean takes its place, how will this affect North-folk on a deep psychological level?
Surface temperatures in the Arctic for the last five years have been higher than for any other five-year period since record keeping began in 1880. This comes from a new report from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, an international group within the Arctic Council.
Higher temperatures means less ice. On July 16, Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, noted that the Arctic ocean had been losing as much as 150,000 square kilometres of sea ice per day. He stated,
“The extent [of the ice cover] is going down, but it is also thinning. So a weather pattern that formerly would melt some ice, now gets rid of much more. There will be ups and downs, but we are on track to see an ice-free summer by 2030. It is an overall downward spiral."
Does this mean that we should reconcile ourselves to the disappearance, at least in summer, of the ice at the top of the world? Of course not. We have the power to influence events. Our will matters. As followers of a religion that treasures the experience of the Gods in the natural world, we cannot help but be concerned about that natural world. A world without polar ice - a world without arctic seals and polar bears and the rest of the intricate northern ecological web - is not the world that shaped us. We owe something to nature, and to the numinous presence that hides behind natural phenomena. The world is alive with essence and being. We disregard it at risk to our physical existence - and our spiritual health.
For a link to things you can do to serve life, go to:
For links to the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program study, go to these two links:
Asatru Folk Assembly