In 2008, I had the unique opportunity to go on an Arctic expedition sponsored by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company to witness the effect of climate change first hand. The expedition was led by one of those brawny, intelligent Dutchmen you could imagine effortlessly summiting Everest or swimming the English channel – Polar explorer, Marc Cornelissen. As young environmentalists, my fellow adventurers and I were in awe of him with his confidence and unforgettable, cheeky smile. He told us incredible stories of his expeditions; had us in hysterics as he recounted a run in with a polar bear while he was “on the loo”; and earnestly explained that over his years of polar exploration, he was becoming increasingly concerned about the disappearance of ice in the Arctic.
Marc and Philip were surveying areas of mixed ice conditions on skis over a distance of 400 kilometers to establish sea ice thickness and snow profiles. On April 29th, their Dutch base received an emergency message from their tracer. A plane left Resolute, arriving at the latest location send out by the tracer. Their dog was spotted alive next to a sled and a big hole in the ice. Upon landing in the area, rescuers found two sleds -one on the ice, partly unpacked & the other in the open water, but still no sign of Marc or Philip.