Over the past days I have been meaning to share with you some details on our living and working quarters, and never got the time to do so. So here it is…
Our Research Center is located very close to the Hudson Bay, in what used to be a military research installation complete with several rocket launchers. For many years until 1980, there was both a US and Canadian Military presence in the region, devoted to the study of atmospheric and climate conditions. During several years, both NORAD and NATO were present in the area. Given our relative proximity to what used to be the Soviet Union over the North Pole, I’m sure that some of the research conducted during the Cold War period was of a different nature as well. Today, all that remains of those days are the rocket launching towers, and a very small rocket at the entrance of the area as pictured below.
Today these installations are maintained and run by the Churchill Northern Scientific Centre (CNSC), a non-profit organization. They facilitate these installations to many organizations and research groups conducting field work in the North. It is an efficient and cost effective solution to the challenge of maintaining shelter and working laboratories in a remote area with a difficult climate.
We both live and work here - when not out in the field. Life at the Center is somewhat structured, as should be expected. A typical schedule is:
07:45 Group briefing
08:30 Departure for the field
13:00 Departure for the field
16:30 Return from the field and equipment check
19:00 Lectures, presentations, laboratory work
The following video should help you in getting to know our “home in the Arctic”…
As you have seen in the video, living and working conditions are adequate, and very much address the seeming complexities of life in these latitudes. For example:
1. Biological soap is the soap of preference (enable environmental friendly treatment of used waters).
2. Showers are short and we are encouraged not to waist water (all water tabs close automatically if you don’t keep your hand on them).
3. Cars are connected to ‘motor warmers’ when not in use (or else they would not start up next time around).
4. Energy conservation is part of normal life at the Center (energy worldwide accounts for 60% of total carbon emissions).
Come to think of it, the entire world could and should live like this - efficient use of our renewable resources and therefore more in line with Sustainable Development!
And of course, at the end of every meal somebody has to do the dishes (without wasting water). So we take daily turns…