Gretel Ehrlich

American novelist, poet and anthropologist

Gretel Ehrlich in Arctic gear during her circumpolar journey

The American author Gretel Ehrlich joined Cape Farewell on our first Art/Science expedition in 2003, a voyage from Tromsø to Spitsbergen via Bear Island.

Gretel has published many works of non-fiction, fiction and poetry including Solace of Open Spaces, This Cold Heaven and A Match to the Heart. She has visited Greenland ten times, resulting in a book, This Cold Heaven, a National Geographic story on the effect of climate change on traditional hunting culture in January, 2006, a National Public Radio report, and a forthcoming film. She is also the author of The Future of Ice, a non-fiction work on climate change including the first Cape Farewell voyage to the Arctic.

Gretel Ehrlich spent the year 2007 on a circumpolar journey meeting with indigneous Arctic people in villages across six Arctic nations to hear about their lives – past and present and how they are being affected by climate change. Her book, Farthest North, about indigenous Arctic people and climate change is forthcoming from National Geographic Books in 2009. It  explores the ways in which the changing climate has already affected their icescapes and landscapes, their lives and traditions. Arctic ecosystems are in a state of collapse and the remaining subsistence traditions of these boreal cultures are vanishing with them.

“It also occurs to me that the real and the imagined have long since fused here. Truths are relative to the imagination that invents them. It’s not the content of experience that we end up with, but the structure of how we know something.”

Gretel Ehrlich, 2001

About the 2003 Art/Science expedition

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