Joëlle, our ambassador in the Artic

My name is Joëlle Perreten and I am going to bring My Green Trip to the Artic!

My name is Joëlle Perreten. My best friend’s name is “Nature” and my road of inspiration leads from mountainous sceneries to the eternal beauty of the ocean where I enjoy surfing waves. At very young age I figured out, that my life is entirely dependent of what the planet Earth provides me. As with every friendship, I decided to give something in return. Here’s my story:

Just a week ago I finished my bachelors degree in environmental engineering at EPFL in Lausanne. However, during my studies I did not find the ultimate solution for all challenges we face in regards of the environment, but the awareness that every personal step forward a greater balance with nature goes into the right direction. I have become vegan, a minimalist and I try to share my knowledge.

Some months ago, I was lucky enough to be chosen as participant of the Swiss Arctic Project. A swiss couple (Charles Michel and Doris Codiga) have come up with this project during the past three years. In order to realized their vision and to afford a ship suitable for the polar regions, they have sold their house. Together with four students, Janine, Tessa, Antoine and Jasmin, we will spend three weeks on board of the MV SAN GOTTARDO around Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

This project allows us to become a witness of a breath-taking environment that suffers from warming temperatures. It is our mission to reach as many people as possible to share the stunning beauty of the Arctic. During the last months we have prepared a scientific sampling that we will do in order to build a bridge between science and everyone that follows the project. But even more to explain that taking care of the environment is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.

If I had one wish for our journey to the North, it would be that we can communicate the urgent message of the voiceless melting glaciers and changing ecosystems. Not all solutions for the challenges ahead of us are obvious, especially concerning climate change. On the other hand, some daily choices allow to protect entire ecosystems: What about picking up trash? No, not only the one produced by yourself, but what you find wherever you travel. Just pick it up and explain your friends, a stranger, a local why you just did it. This too-easy-too-believe idea of my Green Trip just came to me at the right time.

Svalbard experiences a limited capacity to process the vast quantities of waste produced by tourist during the summer months. The long and mainly inaccessible coastline has become a collection of whatever has ended up in the ocean, turning into a lethal trap for animals. Due to those reasons, the governor of Svalbard, named Sysselmannen, calls locals as well as tourist for clean-ups and a limited waste production.

Guess what I will due on Svalbard: I try to capture the Arctic in photographs and videos, take samples to analyse back in Switzerland and alongside with that, I will pick up every piece of trash that I will find!