Adventurer • United Kingdom
“I pray the call of the poles will give people the momentum to defend the Arctic from man’s greed”
Janice Meek has been a businesswoman in the film industry and worked for the United States Geological Survey in Saudi Arabia. In 1994, after the death of her husband, she began extensive travel around the world including the far north. In 2007, at the age of 63, she skied 350 miles to the Magnetic North Pole in 20 days with her son, going to the Geographic North Pole in the following year.
Having been born and raised in London, I developed a passion for empty spaces. I lived for many years in Saudi Arabia where I camped in the vast Arabian Desert. I gazed outwards in awe across the endless desolate terrain, seemingly untouched by nature’s magic. But gradually, with increasing familiarity, I discovered hidden wonders a few feet beneath the barren sand: flower-like shapes of gypsum crystals that have been formed from an ancient sea into beautiful roses, desert roses. What price this beauty to man in his quest for black gold? My quest for isolation drew me to the Arctic; surely the ice and harsh conditions would give protection from man’s mutilation. I was mesmerised by the magic and purity of this frozen world of ice and glittering snow. The exquisite ice statues, sculpted by nature from the pressure ridges pushed up by the force of the sea, in delicate shades of blue and turquoise glistening like fairy tale castles. I felt an affinity to the Arctic because all this beauty was so transient. Within a few weeks of standing on the frozen ocean it would melt and disappear to be recreated months later during the dark days and nights of winter My first Arctic journey was to the Magnetic North Pole; was it magnetic forces that drew me back, this time to stand on top of the world, 90° North, the Geographic North Pole? So poignant that all this enthralling beauty had been newly formed since my last visit, and in a few more weeks would once again be returned to the sea.How truly blessed I was to experience this wonder again, but this time I had fear in my heart. During the months between these two visits I had read with disquiet articles containing proof that there was oil and valuable minerals beneath this ocean and that climate change would make it easier to plunder. What can be done to prevent this onslaught? It is too late for many rain forests, too late for many obliterated habitats that have wiped out plants and animals to recover. Let us not wait until it is too late to save this precious place. Each year this wonder melts and disappears, and each year nature rebuilds it starting with just one snowflake. I pray this one page in this one book will, like that first snowflake, begin the momentum to take the message out into the world and give people the knowledge and desire to defend the Artic from man’s greed.