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Canadian Meet And Greet

/ Post by Erica Wills of Polar Bears International

After an incredibly long day of flight delays, reroutes, and four-hour long layovers, I landed in Winnipeg safe and sound late Thursday evening. Following that was an early charter flight to Churchill yesterday morning. The sights of this little town were comfortingly familiar, with one delightful difference: snow! And not just a light dusting; this is several feet, shoved along the side of the road, crunching underneath my feet.

It’s been great walking around with Katie and exploring the area, but the best part thus far has been meeting and chatting with a variety of people. My taxi driver from the Winnipeg airport to the hotel told me how 90% of the cabs in Winnipeg are Prius’ (including the one we were in), because they are the cheapest option. Since they run on electricity part of e time, they use less gasoline, which both saves money and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Gas in Winnipeg is $1.18 per liter, which is equivalent to $4.72 a gallon (four liters to a gallon).

At the Tundra Buggy Gift Shop yesterday evening, Katie and I met two women who were visiting Churchill for the first time. The ladies had 25 sightings that day while driving out on the buggy, and spoke of how seeing the bears had deeply moved and impacted them. We told them our story, and upon their departure we had two new Ambassadors who promised to spread word in their community of the polar bears’ plight.

We also met a ranger with Parks Canada, who spoke passionately for the need of respect for the bears. “Everyone has the right to see the bears, of course,” he said, preferring to remain anonymous, “but it must start with respect for the bears, for their environment. Only by respecting them first can people truly help them.”  

Aside from the above examples, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting the explore.org crew and our two other guests, including Andy Ridley, the Executive Director and co-founder of Earth Hour. So many different people from all walks of life, yet all are so inspired by this icy land, it’s magnificent inhabitants, and the possibility of change. My hope is that you will be, too, even if you are thousands of miles away from this -10 °C / 14 °F weather!