Follow the ice: From Alaska to Hawaii

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Lanikai Beach. Photo: Mia Bennett, 2017

Last week, I attended a conference about the Arctic in Hawaii. It might seem completely out of place, if not totally out of touch, to talk about a faraway, frozen place on a tropical island. But there are a surprising number of linkages between the Hawaiian islands and the Arctic, and they start with ice. The clear, cold solid forms the basis for one of the most famous desserts in the Pacific, “shave ice,” and was once one of the most lucrative exports from north to south.

After swimming in the warm and prismatic waters off Lanikai Beach on Oahu’s windward shore, I craved nothing more than an ice cold drink. This wouldn’t be hard to find. Oahu is an island where every town has shops selling smoothies, ice cream, soda, and shave ice. This last dessert is the precursor to the snow cone’s, dessert of choice of every kid at every state fair on the mainland. When President Obama would come home to Hawaii during his vacations, he would indulge in shave ice at his favorite shop, not too far from Lanikai Beach.

 

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President Obama enjoying shave ice with his daughters in Kailua, Hawaii. Photo: Pete Souza, 2010/U.S. Government Work

Although frozen desserts on Hawaii are basically ubiquitous, their prevalence on this remote chain of jungle-covered volcanoes in the Pacific is pretty much just as bizarre as an Arctic conference taking place in Hawaii. Hi‘ilei Julia Hobart, who researches Indigenous peoples and food studies at Northwestern University, has written about the history of ice as a commodity in Hawaii. In a recent paper in Food, Culture & Society, she explains that American and European settlers’ taste for chilled drinks encouraged the creation of an “infrastructure of coldness” in Hawaii. Features like air conditioning and refrigeration contrast with the “infrastructure of warmth” that can be found in Arctic communities, from over-ground heating pipes in permafrost-laden Russia to geothermally heated sidewalks in Iceland, which melt the snow on top of them.

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Shave ice in Hawaii. Photo: _e.t/Flickr 2.0 CC License

In nineteenth-century Hawaii, colonial energies were directed at keeping things cold. Starting in the 1850s, various companies began exporting ice to the booming port city of Honolulu. Newspaper advertisements, as Hobart describes, extolled the virtues of “a quantity of that greatest of luxuries in a tropical climate — ice.” In 1854, anticipating the start of a regular ice trade, local ship dealers Swan & Clifford built an ice house. The first delivery of ice to Hawaii, comprising some 500 tons, hailed from Sitka, Alaska.

At the time, Sitka was the hub of the Russian-American Company. The state-sponsored joint-stock company was chartered by Tsar Paul I in 1799 to carry out colonization efforts in Alaska, which was then Russian America, by means of exporting natural resources like furs, fish, and ice, and establishing settlements. The most important of those settlements was Sitka, which was established in 1799 by a Russian trader named Alexander Andreyevich Baranov. He named it Novo-Arkhangelsk (New Archangel), after his hometown, which was an important port city in the Russian Arctic on the White Sea.

Sitka was set up on land inhabited by the Tlingit people for thousands of years. In fact, the Tlingit were employed to stack the ice for shipment to faraway places like California and Hawaii. Thus, it is very possible that the first ice which arrived in Hawaii – ice from a town in Alaska named after a Russian city in the Arctic – was stacked and put into the ship by Alaska Natives.

After his successes in Alaska, Baranov sought to expand Russian America to Hawaii. In 1815, he sent a representative to the islands to establish a way station for Russian ships sailing from Alaska to China with lucrative furs. However, neither the Russian government nor navy supported Baranov’s aspirations, and Baranov’s delegate was forced to leave Hawaii, with the Russian trading posts abandoned.

The 1850s saw a boom in trade between Alaska and Hawaii. Besides ice, Alaskan wood products, timber, fish, and some Russian manufactured goods were exported south in exchange for Hawaiian sugar, molasses, and salt, according to anthropologist Lydia Black. Many Alaskan goods were traded to San Francisco, too. The burgeoning City by the Bay was in the throes of the gold rush and had a big appetite for ice. With the commodity going for $75 a ton, ice became the most profitable trade along that route.

While ice kept relatively well in the year-round cool and foggy climate of San Francisco, it did not hold up in Hawaii’s hothouse climate. Despite early excitement around promises of regular importation of ice, consistent deliveries from Alaska never really took off. It was hard to make a profit on a commodity that melted rapidly in the heat. As the nineteenth century drew to a close, ice machines came to take the place of empty ice houses.

The lack of success of ice imports in Hawaii mirrored another, more calamitous failure on the islands that originated in the Arctic: Captain Cook’s third voyage, from 1776-1780. The British explorer’s fateful sailing to the Hawaiian archipelago originated in the Alaskan Arctic. At the northernmost point of their three-year voyage – a little over 70 degrees north, just west of modern-day Wainwright, Alaska – on August 18, 1778, HMS Resolution encountered the edge of the Arctic sea ice. Captain Cook wrote in his journal, “We were, at this time, close to the edge of the ice, which was as compact as a wall; and seemed to be ten or twelve feet high at least. But, farther North, it appeared much higher. Its surface was extremely rugged; and here and there, we saw upon it, pools of water.”

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HMS Resolution reaches the Ice Islands in the Arctic Ocean, north of the Bering Strait.

Unable to penetrate any farther north and failing to have found a passage between Europe and Asia, Cook and his crew turned south. Here in the Arctic, even in summer, ice was hardly the “greatest of luxuries” as it was in Hawaii. Seeking warmth and relief from horrible seas, Cook headed towards the Pacific via the Bering Strait. The ship stopped in the Aleutian Islands along the way, where Cook infamously forced his crew to eat walrus meat, which the crew thought was disgusting and tasted like “train oil.”

Alaska did not let them leave easily. “Mountainous seas,” in the words of British historian Frank McLynn, tormented the sailors, and it would be another 31 days before they would sight the lush island of Maui. Of course, any vision of relief from the ice would be a mirage. It would be on these ice-free islands that Cook would meet his ignominious fate, bonding Hawaii and the Arctic in a morbid and unforeseen way.

Today, if you ever have the chance to enjoy a shave ice in Hawaii, remember how precious ice used to be before ice machines were invented. It was so dear that it was shipped thousands of miles across the sea from Alaska, where it was stacked into piles by indigenous peoples for whom ice was part of the fabric of their landscape – not something that was hacked up and shipped out thousands of miles across the sea, only for it to melt away.

So how did shave ice come to be one of Hawaii’s most popular desserts?

Even after ice machines were introduced to Hawaii, it took some time for the flaky indulgence to be introduced to the islands. While the dessert has many origins, the Hawaiian version traces its roots to Japan, where it was first created over a thousand years ago during the Heian period (794-1195) using ice brought down from the mountains. Shave ice grew really popular after it burst onto the scene in the port city of Yokohama in 1869. Japanese immigrants to Hawaii in the 20th century reputedly used family heirloom swords to slice blocks of ice into the snowy, soft dessert that is today synonymous with island refreshment. The shop Obama frequents is called “Island Snow Hawaii” – bringing the tropics and the weather of the Arctic together under one banner. I guess the main difference now between ice in Hawaii and ice in the Arctic is that shave ice is rainbow-colored, while Arctic ice is clear, white, blue, or green.

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A snowy scene in Japan. Maybe ice came from mountains like these. Image: Kanbara, by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858)

Sidebar: Dealing with ice still has its archaic moments, as seen in this video of an ice crushing machine I took a few years ago at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.

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China’s Belt and Road Initiative moves into the Arctic

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When China convened its Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last month, most of the attention focused on the initiative’s plans for transportation infrastructure across the Eurasian landmass and the Indian Ocean. Last week, however, China formally incorporated the Arctic into its plans for maritime cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, also sometimes called One Belt, One Road. The Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiativereleased on June 20 by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the State Oceanic Administration, explains that a “blue economic passage” is “envisioned leading up to Europe via the Arctic Ocean.”

This “blue economic passage” would be along Russia’s Northern Sea Route, the Arctic shipping lane that hugs the country’s north coast. Over email, Dr. Marc Lanteigne, a Senior Lecturer in Security Studies at Massey University in New Zealand and a China expert, explained, “This paper is the first official confirmation that the Arctic Ocean is among the ‘blue economic passages’ Beijing is seeking to develop.”

The other two routes included in the vision consist of the China-Indian Ocean-Africa-Mediterranean Sea blue economic passage and the China-Oceania-South Pacific blue economic passage. (Maybe the latter explains Fiji’s somewhat perplexing attendance at the Belt and Road Forum and its unceremonious closure of its representative office in Taiwan last month.) The policy document largely focuses on China’s achievements and plans along the first route, where the government has assisted with the development of ports and industrial parks in places like Myanmar, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Greece. While fewer fine-scale geographic details are provided about the Arctic, the document notes:

Participating in Arctic affairs. China is willing to work with all parties in conducting scientific surveys of navigational routes, setting up land-based monitoring stations, carrying out research on climatic and environmental changes in the Arctic, as well as providing navigational forecasting services. China supports efforts by countries bordering the Arctic in improving marine transportation conditions, and encourages Chinese enterprises to take part in the commercial use of the Arctic route. China is willing to carry out surveys on potential resources in the Arctic region in collaboration with relevant countries, and to strengthen cooperation in clean energy with Arctic countries. Chinese enterprises are encouraged to join in sustainable exploration of Arctic resources in a responsible way. China will actively participate in the events organized by Arctic-related international organizations.

Interestingly, the document does not review China’s accomplishments to date in the Arctic or, more specifically, along the Northern Sea Route. Yet for years already, the Chinese government and affiliated companies and organizations have been eyeing its development. In 2013, Chinese state-owned shipping company COSCO sent the first-ever multipurpose ship through the Northern Sea Route. Last year, five COSCO vessels sailed through the icy route, a company record. In 2015, Chinese banks lent $12 billion to the Yamal liquefied natural gas project, which lies in the middle of the Northern Sea Route. China’s Silk Road Fund, an investment vehicle created by the government to finance Belt and Road Initiative projects, has a 9.9% stake in the Yamal project as well. So why did it take so long for China to officially incorporate the Arctic into its Belt and Road Initiative?

Lanteigne noted that China was reluctant to do so for two reasons. First, unlike Japan or South Korea, China has not released an official Arctic policy and is still in the process of collecting data before doing so. Second, Lanteigne offered, “Once China began to deepen its Arctic diplomacy, along with references to the country as a ‘near-Arctic state’, there were concerns among other Arctic actors, especially the United States, that Beijing far northern interests were primarily motivated by regional resources and that China was seeking to challenge the political status quo in the region. Chinese policymakers have been seeking to dispel those concerns by placing greater emphasis on scientific diplomacy and advocating bilateral partnerships in the study of the affects of local climate change.” He drew attention to Beijing’s careful framing of its investments in the Arctic, from Norway to Russia to Greenland, as joint ventures. This practice fits in line with the Belt and Road Initiative’s larger narrative of, in the words of Chinese President Xi Jinping last month, embodying “the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.”

In Russia, this discourse has won over officials at the highest level. Moscow supports China’s Belt and Road Initiative and generally condones the country’s involvement in the Arctic. At the Belt and Road Forum, President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov were two of the most prominent attendees. In a speech there, Putin expressed his support for China’s transcontinental infrastructure plans. He proclaimed, “By proposing China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, President Xi Jinping has demonstrated an example of a creative approach toward fostering integration in energy, infrastructure, transport, industry, and humanitarian collaboration.”

Russia is partly keen for Chinese investment in its infrastructure because capital from the West has dried up. Russian diplomat Gleb Ivashentsov, who has served as Russian ambassador to Myanmar and South Korea, stated in an interview, “If we talk about Moscow’s turn to the East, it is fully justified. The Asian region is the engine of economic development, whereas Europe is marking time. In Asia, we can take both technology and investment. From the West, we see only sanctions and nothing more.”

Yet some in Russia view China’s plans more suspiciously. Writing in The Maritime News of Russia, Anatoly Korovin, Captain-Coordinator of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky’s Maritime Rescue Center, warns that the Chinese government does not believe that Russia should exercise full control over shipping along the Northern Sea Route. Korovin argued, “The greatest threat to the security interests of the Russian Federation is an attempt by some countries (notably Denmark, the USA, Japan and China) to achieve recognition of the Northern Sea Route as an international transport routes with freedom of navigation.” At the same time, he suggested the possibility that China may be interested in creating a joint venture to manage the Northern Sea Route, which could bring with investment in maritime infrastructure. Such plans were not fleshed out by the policy document released last week, but this may be the direction Beijing seeks to advance in the coming years. 

In Beijing last month, Putin expressed in his speech, “Greater Eurasia is not an abstract geopolitical arrangement, but, without exaggeration, a truly civilization-wide project looking toward the future.” Putin’s distinction between an “abstract geopolitical arrangement” and a “civilizational-wide project” is interesting. The allure of his earlier pet project, the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), is fading as Eurasian countries are increasingly drawn east rather than west. The EEU counts Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia as its members, while the Belt and Road Initiative reportedly involves some 64 countries besides China. And where the EEU could in fact be called an “abstract geopolitical arrangement,” the Belt and Road Initiative is a project that is being realized, albeit in fits and starts. Beijing’s efforts to build ports, railroads, highways, and corridors are stacking up incrementally in many directions, including now in the north. In many ways, the Russian government is pinning its hopes for national economic development on the Arctic. If Chinese capital can make these visions a reality by turning the frigid Northern Sea Route into a “blue economic corridor,” this may benefit both Moscow and Beijing – so long as they agree to disagree on the status of the shipping lane under international law.

With the formal inclusion of the Arctic into China’s Belt and Road Initiative, it’s clear that Beijing is becoming more comfortable with being forthcoming about its interests in Arctic shipping and resources rather than solely emphasizing science and climate change. Lanteigne believes, “It’s likely that future Chinese projects in the Arctic will be increasingly economic in nature, especially as more of the Arctic Ocean becomes accessible.” Moscow will be watching with a healthy dose of anticipation and suspicion.

Why Republicans’ Russia-Envy in the Arctic is Misplaced

A flurry of headlines have recently declared that Russia is kicking its militarization efforts in the Arctic into high gear. Bombastically, UK tabloid The Daily Star screamed, “Russia moves to CONQUER the Arctic: Putin’s troops prep for VERY Cold War.” More somberly, Foreign Policy described, “Here’s what Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic looks like,”complete with a Cold War-esque map of Russia’s military bases symbolized by red planes and missiles all pointed directly at the United States.

The map comes from the office of Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), who has spoken pointedly on the need for the U.S. to boost its Arctic abilities so that it can compete with Russia. Comparing the U.S.’ paltry two icebreakers to Russia’s 40 and counting, he admitted, “The highways of the Arctic are icebreakers…Russia has superhighways, and we have dirt roads with potholes.” Russia, it should be said, also has the Northern Sea Route connecting Europe and Asia, while the U.S. has the western end of the less geostrategic, harder to navigate Northwest Passage.

Sullivan is not the only Republican calling for greater investment in America’s Arctic capabilities. Representative Duncan Hunter (R-California), chairman of the House Committee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, sent a letter to the White House urging the U.S. to build more icebreakers. In a line that echoed Trump’s choice of vocabulary, Hunter wrote, “Russia is launching its biggest icebreaker — The Arktika. It should be of tremendous concern that next to this vessel, there is no equivalent in the world.” He added that Russia already has 40 vessels, with more coming online in the future, while the U.S. only has two.

The sudden concern for Russia’s icebreaking capabilities seems odd considering that no country has ever come close to it since the Soviets launched the nuclear icebreaker, Lenin, in 1959.

The USSR launched Lenin, the world's first nuclear icebreaker, in 1957.

The USSR launched Lenin, the world’s first nuclear icebreaker, in 1957. Photo: Encyclopedia Britannica.

But the real question is, why does Russia have so many powerful icebreakers? Why is it building so much in the Arctic? Could they really be girding to attack the U.S., and if so, does American need to respond in kind?

The short answer is no.

Russia has always been more active in the Arctic than the U.S. for a combination of geographic, economic, and cultural reasons. The country has much more northern territory than the U.S., which is partly why the Arctic economy forms a much larger share of the country’s national economy.

Throughout Russia’s history, a culture of imperial expansion has also motivated its drive to the north. The Cossacks’ rapid drive across Siberia, completed in 60 years, emerged in relation to an inability to push south across its steppe frontier into Central Asia due to tough opposition. Expansion was easier to the north and east across Siberia, where indigenous populations were sparser and resistance was weaker.

In the modern era, cities like Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, and Norilsk all testify to the Soviets’ enormous efforts to industrialize and urbanize the Russian Arctic. Even traditional practices became subsumed within the Soviet Arctic economy, with reindeer herding collectivized and industrialized, for instance.

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Yakutsk, Russia. Photo: Mia Bennett.

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Watermelons, likely imported from the Caucasus, for sale in Arkhangelsk in the Russian Arctic. Photo: Mia Bennett.

Russia constitutes about half of the entire Arctic region, while the U.S. controls significantly less than that. By some accounts, the Russian Arctic accounts for 20% of the country’s GDP, and it would be even more if Tsar Alexander II hadn’t sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867. Alaska, on the other hand, counts for a paltry 0.003% of U.S. GDP according to a back of the envelope calculation I did. In relative terms, Alaska has the 45th smallest economy of all 50 states (although it has the highest per capita GDP).

Here’s a map that illustrates how much bigger Russia’s Arctic economy is than Alaska’s from the Steffanson Arctic Institute.

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As a primary example, Russia has advanced more in developing its Arctic oil and gas resources than any other country. In 2012, it opened the world’s first Arctic-class ice-resistant oil rig, Prirazlomnaya, in the Pechora Sea. Last month, the country opened three new Arctic pipelines, with President Vladimir Putin giving a speech by video link. The U.S., by contrast, has not opened an Arctic pipeline since the one and only Trans-Alaska Pipeline began operating in 1977.

Development is also proceeding apace at Russia’s Yamal Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, which is receiving funding and cooperation from Chinese, Korean, and French partners. The LNG project sits in the middle of the Northern Sea Route, an Arctic thoroughfare used during Soviet times to supply the country’s numerous northern settlements. Today, the Kremlin hopes the Arctic shipping passage can be transformed into a global thoroughfare to connect Russia’s Arctic resources to markets in Europe and Asia.

Russia is also carrying out much of this Arctic economic activity at a loss. The hope is that drilling in the Arctic will one day be profitable – and indeed, if the Russian economy continues to rely on oil, it is crucial that new sources be found. The Arctic could hold a massive amount of mineral wealth for Russia, especially in the way of natural gas, which could boost the national economy.

Given all of this activity, logically, Russia needs infrastructure and personnel to support and secure that activity – not to prepare for war in the Arctic. The country simply has a far greater national stake in supporting northern economic activity than the U.S. federal government. So why exactly do we need a fleet of icebreakers that can compare with Russia’s?

Even if Alaska, which the U.S. Geological Survey estimates has more oil than any other geological province in the Arctic, started churning out fossil fuels, it would likely have a minimal impact on the U.S. economy at large. Thus, since we simply don’t have as much coastline, as much economic activity, or even as many people in the Arctic as Russia, the U.S. probably doesn’t need to spend billions of dollars on icebreakers to pretend like we do.

The Russian media has been astutely covering the West’s obsession with the country’s Arctic development. In an interview with Russian internet portal and media outlet Rambler, Vladimir Batjuk, professor in the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the Higher School of Economics, explained, “In my opinion, the Americans [do] not quite clearly understand why this is necessary. They have a very limited sector around Alaska and it is difficult to squeeze out something serious from it. A fight against Russia for its own sake does not make much sense for them. The only thing that interests them is the internationalization of the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage.”

Constructing pricey icebreakers (Arktika is reckoned to cost $2 billion) is not the only investment Republicans are seeking in the Arctic. Senator Sullivan, along with the senior senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, is also seeking to open up part of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. In January, the two senators introduced the Alaska Oil and Gas Production Act, Senate Bill 49, to permit oil and gas development in areas not classified as federal wilderness. The hope is that more drilling will revive the Alaskan economy, which is currently facing a $3 billion deficit.

Many Republicans and Alaskans believe that with President Trump in office, now is the time to act. Andy Mack, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, said to the Los Angeles Times, “Politically, in Washington, D.C., we have all the right folks in place.”

But even with individuals like former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson in charge of the State Department, having big oil inside the bureaucracy is no guarantee of development. As Trump’s travel ban highlighted, the judicial system can prove to be a major obstacle to executive action – and there’s no doubt that a huge fight would go down in court should Congress open up ANWR to drilling. Thus, despite having the “right folks in place” right now, there could be years of delays before ANWR opens up – and who knows who will be in the Oval Office then, and what executive orders the president then might sign.

This is where Russia and the U.S. differ. If the Russian government seeks to open up its Arctic to drilling, the state-owned companies of Rosneft and Gazprom will go ahead and do so – costs be damned, courts be damned. This mentality of development of the Arctic at all costs has its roots in the Soviets’ push to remake the Russian North into their own image – one of concrete buildings, radar arrays, and thousands of workers extracting oil, gas, nickel, diamonds, and all sorts of other minerals out of the frozen ground.

So if Republicans have Russia-envy when it comes to the Arctic, they should think twice. Yes, the Russian Arctic is vibrant and economically dynamic in parts. In the city of Arkhangelsk, you can enjoy watermelons from Georgia and the finest Russian caviar. In other parts of the Russian Arctic, you can still lose yourself in the cold caresses of the White Sea or the soft underbelly of the mossy tundra.

But the Russian Arctic has also been indelibly scarred by development that was too rushed and haphazard in its unveiling. Norilsk, a nickel mining city in the Russian Arctic, has been ignominiously deemed one of the ten most polluted places on Earth. Suicide rates among Russian reindeer herders, stripped of the ability to continue their traditional practices as they once did, are extremely high. These scars on the landscapes and societies are remnants from the Soviet push to conquer the Arctic through industrial development.

One has to wonder what will be the consequences of the contemporary push to open up the Arctic to the global economy via the development of oil and gas, shipping routes, and tourism. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that after the current boom in Arctic development comes to a close, the idea of the Arctic as a “last frontier” may no longer make sense if the ice-bound landscape has melted away. Without ice, the Arctic would just be another mineral-rich area peripheral to the global economy.

This is partly the concern motivating the $500 billion geo-engineering project that could “re-freeze” the Arctic. In a new paper, scientists have proposed to “enhance Arctic sea ice production by using wind power during the Arctic winter to pump water to the surface, where it will freeze more rapidly.” The fact that surreal study has attracted a wealth of media coverage speaks to a fear that we are at risk of losing the Arctic altogether.

While the Arctic melts away, many are rejoicing in the discovery of seven Earth-sized exoplanets. Surely, this is a cause for wonder, but it it also a cause for concern given the history of what humans have done when they encounter places at the edge of the known universe whether in the Arctic, at the bottom of the ocean, or in outer space. If we ever make it to these exoplanets, will the powers that be seek to remake these edges of the map in their own image? Or for once, will they leave the frontier alone?

Just the other week, another discovery that did not attract quite as much attention concerned the finding of “extraordinary” levels of pollutants at the bottom of the seven-mile deep Mariana Trench, one of the most remote places on Earth. This, however, shouldn’t be all too shocking. Trillions of microscopic bits of plastic have been found in Arctic icebergs. A Russian scientists studying beluga whales once told me that they had high levels of pollutants that could be traced to fertilizer used in India. Arctic indigenous peoples, due to their consumption of whales and other marine mammals, have some of the highest levels of PCP’s among humans.

Human presence is thus contaminating places people haven’t even inhabited. A part of me would not be surprised if a probe were to travel to one of these newfound exoplanets and find a trace of human life on its rocky surface. On the bright side, scientists think some exoplanets have polar ice caps. I suppose that these could serve as a sort of Arctic 2.0 if we need an Earth 2.0

A plastic bag on Enigma Seamount near the Mariana Trench.

A plastic ice bag found on Enigma Seamount near the Mariana Trench. Photo: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.