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Posted by: Date: February 13, 2012 In: ,
In 2010, Thorleif Thorleifsson and BØrge Ousland spent 80 days sailing around the Arctic Ocean. (Photos courtesy/Norwegian Embassy)

In 2010, Thorleif Thorleifsson and BØrge Ousland spent 80 days sailing around the Arctic Ocean. (Photos courtesy/Norwegian Embassy)

Exploring the Arctic

In 2010, Norwegian explorer Thorleif Thorleifsson and BØrge Ousland, became the first to sail around the Arctic in one, short season.

Thorleifsson and Marit Archer Saether, environmental counselor with the Norwegian Embassy, will come to PLU on a lecture tour to discuss arctic exploration, climate change and its effect on the global strategic environment. The lecture is at 2 p.m. Friday, March 2 in the Scandinavian Cultural Center in the UC. The lecture is entitled, “A Voyage Around the North Pole: Modern Exploration and Climate Change.”

Changes to the environment and climate of the Arctic are offering new opportunities for competition and collaboration among states in its periphery.

Dynamism will only increase in the coming decades, as water levels rise, gas and oil reserves are explored, and territorial claims are challenged.

Polar explorer Thorleif Thorleifsson.

Polar explorer Thorleif Thorleifsson.

Thorleifsson’s lecture will assess the state of the actual physical environment of the Arctic and its impact on the strategic environment. He will talk about his voyage, and the challenges and environmental changes encountered along the way, as well as the Norwegian history of Arctic exploration and explorers of the past.

Saether is an environment counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C. She has worked in the environment field for more than 20 years, including with the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment, the European Commission in Brussels and in postings for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She has also worked on international trade issues for the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture.

Map of journey - The white line plots the route Thorleifsson and Ousland took on their Arctic voyage, becoming the first to do so in one, short season

The white line plots the route Thorleifsson and Ousland took on their Arctic voyage, becoming the first to do so in one, short season.

Thorleifsson and Ousland’s voyage took them though the Northern Sea route in Russia, the Northwest Passage in Canada and across the North Atlantic back to Norway. It was a race against time and in waters with drifting ice, increasing darkness and autumn gales. They have credited their successful voyage on innovation, using state-of-the-art communication technology, good teamwork and a combination of thorough preparation and improvisation.

Thorleifsson is an experienced mariner and an organizational developer. His ideas and perspectives are based on his own experiences from business, organizational development, submarine operations and sailing expeditions into the Arctic, North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea. In the last three decades, he has sailed extensively into the North Atlantic, the Arctic Ocean and the Barents Sea. In 2011, he was awarded the Timan Medal by the Royal Cruising Club.
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