25 Sep 2008

The Open University’s Dr Joe Smith sets sail for the North Pole with Jarvis Cocker

Dr Joe Smith

Dr Joe Smith

Dr Joe Smith, Senior lecturer in Environment with The Open University is one of a 40-strong crew of artists and scientists including Jarvis Cocker, KT Tunstall, Martha Wainwright, Lemn Sissay and Marcus Brigstocke, who are heading for the North Pole from today.

Joe is part of Cape Farewell’s seventh expedition to the West Coast of Greenland on board the science research vessel – Grigory Mikheev – which will travel from Kangerlussuaq to Disko Bay. The ship will then voyage across the front of the Jakobshavn Glacier, one of Greenland’s largest glaciers which is moving at a faster rate than ever before.
The aim of the voyage is to inspire the crew to respond creatively to climate change.

Joe says:”Climate change science from the polar regions has been vital in establishing a firm basis for political debate, but most don’t think or talk in terms of science in every day life. That’s why I feel Cape Farewell’s approach is so important. It takes everyday names from the arts which will translate into work that will bring the issue to a much wider audience. It’s not just a one-way street from science to the arts, but its important cultural work in exploring and making sense of an important topic.”

In 2007, there was record loss of the sea ice at the North Pole. Recent satellite images show that this year’s figure could exceed the 2007 demise of the Northern Ice Cap.

Onboard science teams from the British Geological Survey and National Oceanography Centre will undertake scientific research, mapping the ocean currents and analysing the Greenlandic seabed.

Editor’s notes:
Joe is Senior Lecturer in Geography at The Open University, specialising in environmental issues. He is author/editor of books on quality of life (2008) the green movement (2006) climate change (2003; 2009) and the media and global environmental issues (2000). Since 1996 Joe has led seminars on environment and development issues for senior media decision makers. He has acted as academic consultant on a number of major BBC One and BBC Two climate change commissions (including David Attenborough’s two-parter on BBC One). Joe is initiator and director of the Interdependence Day communications and research project that takes a fresh look at global issues

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