Dupre has seen the climate changing
Arctic explorer Lonnie Dupre has seen changes in the Arctic that he attributes to global warming.
Dupre was the guest speaker at the Duluth League of Women Voters (LWV) annual meeting last week. About 100 people attended the dinner.
Though Dupre lives in Grand Marais, he has a Duluth connection through his mother, local resident Kate Cartier. She was at the LWV meeting and ran the slide projector as Dupre spoke.
Dupre showed photos of his expeditions as he spoke about the changes he has seen. He is the founder of One World Endeavors, which leads expeditions in the coldest regions of the earth and advocates against pollution as well as addresses climate change.
In January Dupre did a solo climb of the highest mountain in North America, Denali, aka Mount McKinley in Alaska. January is the darkest and coldest time on Denali and Dupre was the first to reach the summit during that month.
In 2009 he circumnavigated Greenland to commemorate Arctic explorer Robert E. Perry's 1909 trip and also to research ice thickness. Dupre said that in Perry's time, the ice was 15 feet thick. "It's not that way anymore," he said. "Now we have ice that is almost nonexistent to ice that is only 8 or 9 feet thick." Dupre predicts that in the next eight years there will no longer be ice in the Arctic Ocean.
"That's devastating to our planet because both the North and South pole act as thermostats," he said. Ice reflects the warmth of the sun's rays away from the earth, but when large patches of dark blue ocean are exposed, all the energy is absorbed, he said.
Mary Streufert, president-elect of LWV-Duluth, said Dupre's photos and presentation were fascinating. "Some of the changes he saw firsthand are disturbing," she said.
Next month, Duluth LWV is hosting the Minnesota LWV convention June 12-14 at the Radisson. Hundreds from all over the state are expected to attend. Speakers include Elisabeth MacNamara, president of LWV-U.S. and MayKao Hang, president and CEO of the Wilder Foundation, a nonprofit research institute based in St. Paul that studies social issues and encourages community initiatives.
The banquet speaker "should be powerful," said LWV President Zandy Zwiebel. "(She) will be speaking on diversity issues and exclusion." The banquet and breakfast are open to the public. To RSVP for these events, visit www.lwvduluth.org.