Eco-Action, Sep/Oct 2015 – Greenland

Kangerlussuaq. How often do you hear about this city or for that matter about Greenland without the context of global warming? Well I can tell for myself that I rarely hear about it, if not never. Nevertheless, with a 1.3 kilometre long airstrip, Kangerlussauq tops at being the biggest airport in Greenland, reasons to its flat ground and greatly stabile weather. Kangerlussuaq has because of its nature become one of tourist’s favourite destinations to Greenland. Despite its small population of 560 people, the most essentials of living can be found within a small radius.


After four hours flight from Copenhagen Airport, the Eco-Action group composed of four countries: Italy, Poland, Denmark, and Turkey, with each 5 participants, arrived early morning and were met by cold and fresh-breeze Kangerlussuaq’s weather. Quickly we realized that infrastructure in Greenland works differently compared to “back home”. Considering the short distance to the hostel, we therefore decided to walk. In the hostel the owner met us and gave a brief tour of the place. The next nine days were spent in shared rooms of four or six beds, with only curtains separating us from the others guests, a shared sitting room, kitchen and four bathrooms.


None of the participants were from Greenland; we therefore had to figure out how to maximise our time in Greenland and the project with a combination of outdoor trips, workshops, presentations, and the fundamental as shopping and cooking. Our different habits from our home countries are expeditiously shown by our actions. The Italians appreciated a well-prepared meal, whilst the Danes rather have some quick food as rye bread with cold cuts. Hence our differences we easily learn to live in a community and respect our heterogeneity.


Taken of our possibilities and circumstances into consideration, we found it most efficient and convenient to make day-to-day plan. As a result of having some experienced and skilled participants, we had the possibility to go for several trips, such as hiking, camping, hunting and viewing of the Ice Cap. Predominantly all our trips should be for all participants to participate, but taken everything to consideration, being together as a group was not an option because of the supply from firms. The group therefore needed in some situations to separate into two teams for some of the outdoor trips. Trips combined with workshops held by the represented countries, and presentations by scientist, the participants got a more fully understanding of Greenland’s situation with the climate changes and global warming.
First of all the Ice Cap ice will melt due to the changes in average temperature of the Earth, which will lead a lot of countries to go underwater including Italy and Denmark. The other aspect is that Greenland and the North Pole holds a lot of natural resources, which captures the attention of the world’s great powers. This is some of the perspectives the Eco-Action group became wiser about.


One thing I learned from this trip was that the way I am used to think and approach a task does not always seem to work out. In Greenland we had several situations, where we needed to think out of the box, cross our own limits and were forced to respond to the given situation, as challenging as it might have been.

Of course with hindsight, there is so much that could have been tackled differently, but what I can take with me from this project is that I got my horizon widened and gained new perspectives regarding group work, leadership and always having at least a plan b’s.

By Shabnam Abbasi

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