Hail, hail, the gang’s all here:
Vanessa Carlton is suffering from the same cold I am.
Feist checked her guitar (Robyn Hitchcock requested that everybody who has one bring it for a little Arctic jam).
History of Love author Nicole Krauss is here at the gate, looking absolutely adorable with her five-month-old baby bump.
Academy Award winning filmmaker Peter Gilbert is saying good-bye to his kids via cell-phone.
Cape Farewell 2008’s New York contingent is getting ready to board our plane for Iceland, where we will meet the Londoners (Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, among them) and take a charter to Greenland. There we will bus to the seaside and board zodiac rafts that will take us to the Russian sea vessel that will be our home for the next 12 days.
Our mission: For the artists to experience the High Arctic, the front-line of climate change, and to observe the scientists and oceanographers at work.
Me? I’m a journalist and a Cape Farewell volunteer who’s at once beyond excited and pretty darn terrified of what lies ahead of us. A New Yorker at heart, I’ve been a magazine editor for the past 15 years — a pretty cushy job with perks like free shoes, free movie screenings, and free car rides home.
But this year I decided I needed to see more, learn more — about myself, our nation (it’s an election year, after all), and our world. As a manager at DoSomething.org, I’ve been helping our small team of intelligent, driven, passionate, and talented twentysomethings reach 11.5 million young people who want to change the planet. Sound daunting? Not to this generation. They consider it their calling.
So Cape Farewell seemed to be a natural fit for my sabbatical from the media. Why not practice what I preach and Do Something to change the world. Or at least help the world realize how serious this climate change crisis is. As Cape Farewell creator/crusader David Buckland said recently, the citizens of Earth tend to glaze over when they see a bunch of charts waved in their faces by earnest scientists. But to hear a song written by Feist, or see an inspiring installation by the likes of Rachel Whiteread at the Tate Modern, or read a novel with the underlining theme being climate change by Ian McEwan . . . one or all of these need to get people’s attention.
I knew I was a part of something extraordinary when this morning I awoke to an email from the London Cape Farewell office: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had penned us voyagers a good luck message and also underscored the importance of our mission — as well as his and the world’s leaders’ ongoing mission to create awareness and actually Do Something about it.
Well, it’s time to board. Check back daily for updates from the ice. If KT Tunstall was willing to give up a traditional honeymoon to share this newly married time with 38 strangers and a Russian sea crew, then the least you all can do is tune in. And Learn Something.
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