Polar explorer to bring tales, pictures of Arctic degradation | AspenTimes.com

Polar explorer to bring tales, pictures of Arctic degradation

Abigail Eagye

By now, we’ve all heard the news: Global climate change is shortening our winters and melting our snowpack.But it’s hard to process what that really means when we’re losing hypothetical snow days. Wouldn’t it be easier to understand if we could actually see the impacts of climate change?Will Steger has, and he wants others to see what he’s seen.Having mushed dogs to the literal ends of the earth, Steger is a man after the Aspen extremist’s heart. His canine-driven trips include the first confirmed dogsled journey to the North Pole without resupply (1986), the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history (a 1,600-mile south-to-north traverse of Greenland in 1988), the first dogsled traverse of Antarctica in 1989-90 (3,471 miles) and the first and only dogsled traverse of the Arctic Ocean, from Russia to Canada, in 1995.Steger has testified before Congress on polar and environmental issues, but on Thursday, he’ll give his testimony to an audience at the Aspen Institute’s Paepcke Auditorium. He’s the keynote speaker at a city-sponsored conference on global climate change. Steger will weave photographs from his journeys with satellite imagery to document the deterioration in the polar ice caps, where the consequences of global warming are pronouncedly visible.In keeping with the theme of the conference, Steger will do more than sound the alarm for impending doom. He will join other speakers in the conference to offer steps people can take today to counter the effects of climate change.The presentation is sponsored by the Community Office for Resource Efficiency. It is free and open to the public. It will run from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at Paepcke Auditorium at the Aspen Institute.For more information on Steger or the conference, go to http://www.SustainableConferences.com.

Climate change experts from a number of destination communities have made Aspen their destination this week. The city will play host to a three-day conference looking at ways cities and businesses can take action to combat global warming.”It’s about what communities can and should be doing now,” said John Gitchell, cofounder of Sustainable Conferences, the company Aspen contracted to organize the event.Local presenters include officials from the city, Stay Aspen Snowmass, The Aspen Skiing Co. and Vail Resorts.Energy experts from Denver, Portland, Ore. and Hawaii also will speak.”The focus on Aspen is just one session of the conference,” Gitchell said. “It’s Aspen attending and learning, as well, from these other models.”The goal is to do more than just talk about the scientific and political aspects of global warming, Gitchell said. The idea is to provide a forum for business and community leaders to look at ways their cities actively are working to combat climate change and to create partnerships to continue the exchange of ideas.”Really the push for this conference is to stop talking about things and take action,” he said.Rates to attend the conference vary from $325 to $900, depending on the number of days and whether lodging is needed.For more information on speakers, times and fees, go to http://www.SustainableConferences.comAbigail Eagye’s e-mail address is abby@aspentimes.com