It’s been a hot holidays. The kind of heat you would do anything to get away from. The kind of heat that makes you literally stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open saying “Oh my God what hell hath we wrought”.
The kind of heat that makes you wish you could be transported somewhere literally made of ice, where the sun is a fleeting orb that hovers briefly above the horizon before slinking back down to leave you to it. Where the wind is brisk and chilled. To make it worse, those kind people who usually look after your kids five days a week have unceremoniously left it all up to you for a couple of months, and now you’ve got to entertain them.
The Arctic is what you’re looking for. A precious, delicate place. One of the most remote wildernesses we have on this earth. It is so far removed from us – not just geographically, but from our experience, that it may as well be an alien landscape. It is literally defined as “The place where the trees don’t grow, and the ice never melts, and in winter the sun doesn’t even shine”.
And therein lies a problem. We know the saying “out of sight, out of mind”. And few things in this world are more out of sight than the Arctic. So it is easy to ignore the impact that our lifestyles can have, and hard for our kids to get their heads around how anything that they do could affect a polar bear living a million miles away.
But because it is such a fragile eco-system, it is all the more susceptible to human impact. Not just climate change, but marine pollution, overfishing, and oil extraction. We are ravaging the place and because it’s so far away, it’s hard to care.
So. The Canadian Government, through the Canadian Museum of Nature, and educational organisation Science North, have brought the "Arctic Voices" exhibition to the Australian Maritime Museum, right on the sunny shores of Sydney's Darling Harbour.
The whole idea is to open kids up to this world, and it’s wonderful. It brings the land of the Arctic close to home, with science they can literally throw themselves into. They can jump like a snow hare, and measure up to a polar bear. They can even burrow into a den and think about what it’s like to hibernate (Hint – it’s heaven).