Arctic Circle

Current Phase: Continuing -Production and Fundraising

  As a gateway to the Pacific, the High-Arctic is a region experiencing tremendous environmental stress and an uncertain future. With the retreat of summer sea ice due to record melting, commercial navigation of the Northwest Passage appears to be almost a certain probability. The area is currently under study by multiple nations to determine if mining and drilling for large deposits of gold, manganese nodules and oil could be economically viable. Our studies focus on the acoustical impact that increased shipping and mechanized extraction process will have on marine species inhabiting the water.  Additionally, we explore the release of plastic micro-debris and greenhouse gasses previously locked in the ice.  The release of these elements is thought to be a contributing factor in human-caused global climate degradation and a future detriment to the marine environment as a whole.  

Starting our exploration on the difficulties this area faces, we sent Cynthia Matzke to the Northwest Passages. Cynthia joined a team of female polar explorers called Sedna, who has been doing this outreach and dive trip for 3 years. She embarked on a two-week journey to the Arctic to visit Inuit Tribal communities in the Greenland and Canada.  For Spiral Pacific, Cynthia recorded audio samples to measure the acoustical impact increased industrial output has had on the marine life is this sensitive area.

As part of our continued outreach programs, the team engages in cultural exchange programs with youth from these remote communities. Cynthia shares her work in bioacoustics and love of soundscapes with the kids, as well as what you can encounter when diving and filming underwater. The kids learn about ocean ecosystems, climate science, and build underwater robots they test pilot in the shallow waters offshore.