The Explorer Who Wants To Live On An Iceberg Until It Melts

By Heather Ramsey on Sunday, June 28, 2015
Iceberg
“In solitude, when we are least alone.” —Lord Byron, “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”

In A Nutshell

Adventurer Alex Bellini plans to go to Greenland and pick out an iceberg to live on alone for one year or until it melts (whichever comes first), then he’ll float ashore. He hopes to get sponsors to back his mission to illustrate how humans are impacted by global warming. But will he really change anyone’s mind? That seems unlikely with the men who drive “Coal Rollers,” modified diesel trucks that emit extra black smoke to anger environmentalists. In addition, officials in some US states like Florida are banned from talking about climate change.

The Whole Bushel

Adventurer Alex Bellini plans to go to Greenland and pick out an iceberg to live on alone for one year or until it melts (whichever comes first). He’ll bring electronic equipment and dehydrated food to place in his survivor capsule, which will double as living quarters and then a lifeboat after the iceberg melts. He’ll drift in the ocean in his 4-meter-diameter (13 ft) capsule until he floats ashore.

The whole point of his adventure, other than possible media attention and monetary sponsorship, is to describe how global warming is affecting the speed of ice melting in the northernmost regions of the globe. He sees his journey on the iceberg as a symbol of all of humanity adrift on our imperiled planet. To get started, he needs to find a flat iceberg about 60 meters by 20 meters (200 ft x 70 ft).

One of his biggest challenges will be how to keep himself occupied during the long, lonely days. Physically, there won’t be much to do, especially in the frigid temperatures of –20 degrees Celsius (–4 °F). He intends to read, take an online psychology program with his wife, and test some new technical equipment.

Surprisingly, Bellini intended to spend his life as a banker when he was in school in Milan in his early twenties. But the idea became so unappealing that he escaped to Morocco to run a marathon in the Sahara Desert in 2001.

That was the start of many adventures, including rowing across the Atlantic Ocean in 2005 and then the Pacific Ocean in 2011. He also ran from Los Angeles to New York in a little over two months in 2011. Corporate sponsors invest in his exploits as a way to advertise their brands. To help pay the bills, he occasionally worked as a motivational speaker.

For his iceberg adventure, Bellini wants green sponsors that don’t pollute the planet. That’s in keeping with his goal of increasing public awareness of climate change, particularly global warming.

But will he really change anyone’s mind? That seems unlikely with the men who drive “Coal Rollers,” modified diesel trucks that emit extra black smoke to anger environmentalists. It’s their way of protesting against stricter emissions rules from the US government, environmentalists in general, and specifically people who drive hybrids or cars made by the Japanese. “The feeling around here is that everyone who drives a small car is a liberal,” said a roller named Ryan. “I rolled coal on a Prius once just because they were tailing me.”

Rollers have become extremely popular, especially on the Internet, provoking arguments between them and environmentalists on social media. It doesn’t seem like rollers will be open to any messages from Bellini about global warming. In addition, officials in some US states like Florida are banned from talking about climate change. They’re not permitted to use the phrases “climate change,” “global warming,” or “sea-level rise.” Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee have also passed legislation that tries to outlaw climate science in government, business, or education.

Show Me The Proof

Motherboard: One Man’s Plan to Live on an Iceberg Until It Melts
Business Insider: Conservatives Are Purposely Making Their Cars Spew Black Smoke To Protest Obama And Environmentalists
Discovery: Florida Isn’t the Only State to ‘Ban’ Climate Change