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Revisiting Writer & Explorer Gretel Ehrlich on Wednesday's Access Utah

Photograph by David McLain

Writer and explorer Gretel Ehrlich is author of 13 books, including "The Solace of Open Spaces." She has written for National Geographic, The Atlantic, Orion, and other publications. Her recent writing has covered everything from her experience being struck by lightning, to essays about how climate change has been affecting the Arctic communities in Greenland that she has been visiting for the last 16 years. Writing in Harper's Magazine she notes that "the ways in which these Greenlanders get their food are not much different than they were a thousand years ago, but in recent years Arctic scientists have labeled Greenland's seasonal sea ice 'a rotten ice regime.' Instead of nine months of good ice, there are only two or three. Where the ice in spring was once routinely six to ten feet thick, in 2004 the thickness was only seven inches even when the temperature was -30 degrees Fahrenheit. 'It is breaking up from beneath,' one hunter explained, 'because of the wind and stormy waters. We never had that before. 

It was always clear skies, cold weather, calm seas. We see the ice not wanting to come back. If the ice goes it will be a disaster. Without ice we are nothing.'" Erhlich says "what people don't understand about the Arctic is that this isn't just about those other people, those Eskimos that have nothing to do with us. The Arctic drives the climate of the whole globe. Erhlich is in Utah for HEAL Utah's Fall Party fundraiser. She'll be heading to Paris for the U.N. Climate Change Conference. She'll join Tom Williams for Wednesday's Access Utah.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.