City leader, environmentalist help develop Arctic excursion to include 15 Pinellas residents

Published September 5 2014
Updated September 5 2014

Want an arctic sailing adventure? Hoping to learn more about global warming and climate change?

The Institute on Science for Global Policy, based in Tucson, Ariz., has chosen St. Petersburg and a handful of other U.S. cities to participate in a summer expedition in 2016 to learn more about the effects of climate change.

St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice and Susan Glickman, of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, are part of the team developing the project.

Rice and Glickman travel to Oslo, Norway, on Sept. 8 through 13 for a planning conference on the project, along with the representatives from Tucson; Toms River, N.J.; Whittier, Calif.; and Alpena, Mich. They will be joined by broadcast journalists from NOVA and the Public Broadcasting Service, which are looking to produce a documentary on the expedition.

"We're looking for people who accept that global warming is happening," Rice said. "How serious is this issue? How quickly do we need to act?"

The excursion will include 15 people from each of the five U.S. communities. Rice and Glickman said they would not likely travel on the excursion.

In all, the institute says people from 20 communities in the United States and Norway will spend a week in the arctic on board a Lindblad National Geographic Expeditions ship. Participants agree to share their conclusions in their communities "to stimulate further discussion of actionable next steps."

The St. Petersburg group will include applicants from throughout Pinellas County. Organizers expect to cover the full cost of the trip for those selected.

No U.S. tax dollars are involved in the conference or the expedition.

"We're really looking for a very diverse group of citizens — clergy, young, old — a really representative sample," Glickman said.

Rice and Glickman have long been activists in environmental issues and are looking to raise awareness of the effects of sea level rise on Florida, and Tampa Bay in particular. In addition to the excursion, they plan summits in the Tampa Bay area on global warming, climate change and sea level rise.

"It's the next generation that's really going to be dealt a much tougher deck when it comes to climate change," Rice said. "Science is our strength. It's a powerful way to engage people."

For more information about applying for the excursion, visit scienceforglobalpolicy.org. Under "programs," go to "Arctic Program."

Contact Ivan Penn at ipenn@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2332. Follow @Consumers_Edge.

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