The Arctic is one of the most fascinating regions on our planet, and one of the most threatened. Two film crews explore its spectacular wilderness in a two-part documentary. Part one takes viewers from Norway’s Svalbard archipelago to Siberia. The region around the North Pole is one of the greatest and least-known wildernesses in the world, and it’s rapidly changing due to global warming.
The retreat of Arctic sea ice can be observed everywhere along the Arctic Circle, presenting those who live there with dramatic changes. This documentary takes viewers on a journey through the Arctic circle and explores those changes. It begins in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, a place to see one of nature’s most spectacular displays — the northern lights. With the ice retreating, cruise ships can now travel further north than was previously possible. This places a strain on the fragile ecosystem.
But more visitors may also mean more awareness about the risks that face the region, and more motivation to protect the Arctic. But as if often the case, protecting nature in the Arctic is at odds with economic interests. Russia, in particular, is keen to sell Arctic fossil fuels to the rest of world. The film next takes viewers to the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia, where the Russian company Novatek has built the northernmost industrial facility on the globe.
Further East in Yakutia, two noises fill the air: the relentless buzzing of mosquitoes that infest the Siberian tundra in summer, and the steady dripping of the thawing permafrost on the banks of the Kolyma River. The film’s journey ends in Chukotka in the northeast of Russia, a region closer to Alaska than to the Russian capital Moscow.