Journey to the Barents Sea with brave people from Greenpeace to protect what is left of the paradise.
The objective of our tour on Greenpeace’s ice breaker ‘Arctic Sunrise’ to the Barents sea was to make noise by protesting and spreading awareness that Norway is expanding it’s drilling exercises far north into the pristine Arctic.
It is giving licenses to oil companies, such as to the Austrian company ‘OMV’, and their oil rig ‘Transocean Spitzbergen’. This oil rig was the main point of interest to show the wider Austrian audience where it’s dear oil company is “dipping” it’s sticky fingers.This particular rig is near the Bear island (Bjørnøya), a peculiar nature reserve of extreme but delicate beauty. It is a tiny island but a haven for millions of birds who nests on the southern cliffs every year. These cliffs are one of the largest breeding/nesting place for birds north of the Arctic circle. Because the island is for the most part of the year covered by snow, if a spill were to happen here, it would have devastating long-lasting consequences and it would be almost impossible to clean up the mess.
Bjørnøya, the Bear Island despite it’s illustrious name, sadly has not seen a single bear for a few years already. The journal filled out by the only human inhabitants of the island (staff of 9 Norwegian scientists and meteorologists), used to be full of written pages of bear sightings but now it is full of empty pages. Pack ice which used to serve as vessels to bears who came from “nearby” Svalbard are now almost gone. Ever-receding ice caused by the global warming does not extend far enough to reach Bjørnøya anymore.
About Mitja Kobal
Mitja Kobal is an independent professional photographer born in Slovenia , now based in Vienna, Austria. He’s working across several fields of photography from documentary and portrait to industrial and architecture. He’s been also working as a Greenpeace photographer which gives a deeper cause to his work. [Official Website]