Pine Nuts: Half a league onward, rode the 600 |

Pine Nuts: Half a league onward, rode the 600

My heroes will soon be floating away on a slab of ice with no internet, no phone service and no days off. These are the hearty scientists from 17 nations willing to ride around on an ice flow for months on a stretch, amidst the fastest changing climate in the world, the North Pole.

This year-long Arctic research expedition will test the metal and stamina of all 600 meteorologists, biologists, oceanographers and ice experts involved. From December to February they will never see the sun, but hopefully they will reveal some of the mysterious forces at play in this weather keystone that stabilizes our entire climate system. Fact is, the domino effect of climate instability starts here. Who could have foreseen that the fire that destroyed the beautiful town of Paradise could have started at the North Pole?

Imagine riding an ice flow from Alaska to Norway! I complain to the flight attendant if my feet get cold on a flight to Las Vegas, so even if they would let me tag along, I would not enlist in this intrepid mission for any amount of money. I mean, along with the threat of hypothermia the place is lousy with polar bears, and these isolated polar bears are hungry enough to eat a statue of Fridtjof Nansen. I’ve had brown bears look me over here at Lake Tahoe with disdain, as if to say, “Nope, too skinny, wouldn’t make a meal.” But a polar bear who has not seen a seal in six weeks would swallow me whole and I would be lolling around in his empty stomach until he coughed me up to continue his search for something nourishing to eat.

But seriously, no expedition has ever been so urgent, so critical to our very existence as this one. It has a name, “MOSAiC,” or, “Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate.” I would simply call it, “SLOE,” or, “Saving Life On Earth.” And I will shout it from the rooftops, “GO SLOE AND GOD’S SPEED!”

Mars can wait. Let us focus our political will on saving planet Earth.

Mars can wait. Let us focus our political will on saving planet Earth.

Oh, and guess who’s working on this vital endeavor with us? China and Russia are working with us to save the planet. So might we be safe to assume that if we are successful in stabilizing our climate, it might follow that we might see an advantage in drawing down our weapons of mass destruction. This is not rocket science, well, maybe it is.

I’m going to send MOSAiC $100 if I can figure how to get it to their floating iceberg to buy heating oil and whale blubber, as they will be in short supply and very expensive.

Once these valiant researchers return home we should provide them a parade down the Canyon of Heroes, and treat them to a feast at Gramercy Tavern. Nothing less will do…

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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