Why do so many people extend their kindness and generosity to me? I am not speaking only about the hundreds I have visited or asked for directions this year, but also about those I’ll call facilitators, who have helped organize or invite me to places. In the long list of facilitators, I would like to thank those associated with the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded International Polar Year (IPY) project CLUE (Circumpolar Land Use and Ethnicity). Thank you to Anna Stammler-Gossman for suggesting I join the expedition, to Hugh Beach for allowing it, to Tamara Semenova for making it all happen, to Thomas Thornton and Diana Mastracci for being enthusiastic about my presence, to Olga Povoroznyuk for helping me search for opportunities to stay on after the project, and to Alexander, a stranger and now friend, for inviting me to your home after my presentation on the last day of the project, when I wasn’t sure if I would fly back to Moscow or try to stay on! You all are great, and I am extremely thankful to each and every one of you.
On the 3 week trip we flew or drove in huge off-road vehicles on frozen rivers to settlements Indiga, Krasnoe, Karataika, and Khongurey, where the team interviewed Nenets and Izhma Komi reindeer herders and townspeople about their personal histories and the influences of post-Soviet policies, oil and gas development, and climate change on their lives and livelihoods. The project asked exactly the questions I would have loved to ask, and should hopefully create a good portrait of some of the issues indigenous people face in the circumpolar north.
About this blog
Eaten Earth will be a location for occasional photos, thoughts about the state of the world, and updates on my roaming through Arctic regions.
The title: I feel as though our species is consuming the Earth. As a way of thinking about how to change that, I'll focus on one of the strongest, most culturally important, and most malleable ways we interact with our planet- the actual eating of its bounty. How people eat, what it means for them, and what it means for the Earth, will be an undercurrent to my entire travels. - Alex