I’ve been in Antarctica for 2 weeks now.
Last Wednesday, I flew to a remote field camp to observe the work of 2 scientists and 2 divers studying single-celled organisms that live below the sea ice. I had never met any of them before.
Last Wednesday, it was Election Day back in the States. My home. (This is because I am living a day in the future, at the bottom of the world…Election Day was technically Tuesday.)
Last Wednesday, I learned how to chip dive holes, and scoop out the icy chunks into a neat pile, so the holes don’t freeze over.
Last Wednesday, I ate frozen pizza and drank beers with people I had met just hours before. Slowly, the shock of what was happening back home began to sink in, as we received intermittent updates.
Last Thursday, I woke up. Still in shock. I think I’m still in shock, but I have so much to do for the short time that I’m down here. I’m putting all my energy into my work.
I’m here on this frozen continent because of an amazing program, funded by our government, funded by our tax dollars. (Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.) The 900+ incredible people who are here with me, the same. It pains me to think that this could so easily go away. And I don’t mean that selfishly. So many of the people here were inspired from a very young age to participate in science, to participate in the outdoors, to participate in the world. It’s programs like these, where we can come together and learn new things, help each other, help to understand each other, and help to understand the world, that make lasting impacts. Impacts that will likely span beyond our lifetimes. I want this opportunity to be here for future scientists, future adventurers, future humans from all walks of life.
There is internet down here, but barely. I can check my email. I can occasionally update Twitter/Instagram/this blog (but I usually need to do this very late at night/early in the morning). Part of me is homesick for my loved ones, my friends, my community, while part of me is grateful that I am cut off and distracted from the events back home. I don’t want my silence to be misconstrued as complacency or apathy. Just know that I am working my butt off, fighting the best fight that I know how: making comics that will inspire the next generation of scientists, thinkers, doers, problem-solvers, and eventually, voters. I will shout my comics-lungs dry, singing the song of why we need to care so much about each other, and why we need care so much about this planet that we call home.
I struggle with putting all these thoughts into words, and I can tell you that this is just the tip of the iceberg (pun = intended).
Please know that I’m thinking of you all, and of all our collective struggles, and how to best deal with what lies in front us.