20 November 2009

Scandinavian heirs write about their polar cruising

The Scandinavian royal heirs - Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden – visited Svalbard and the Arctic Sea in 2008 and this summer Greenland. They brought with them leading Scandinavian polar explorers.

Now the Scandinavian heirs have published a book about their impressions of their polar cruising, «Kongelig Polartokt» («Royal Polar Expedition» - or rather «Royal Polar Cruising»). The publisher, Cappelen Damm, gives the following description:

«Join three committed royal heirs on an unforgettable journey in the Arctic Sea, to Svalbard and Greenland. Through their own texts they pass on their own impressions and, not least, their commitment for the areas in the north and the climate challenges we are confronted with.

With them on their journey they had invited three researchers, who help us to understand the climate changes and what consequences they may have.»

The preamble is written by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who describes the book as «bemerkelsesverdig» («remarkable»).

(Photo: Veronica Melå, The Royal Court)

I have not read the book, but the Norwegian national newspaper Aftenposten published its review today, written by Ole Mathismoen. He describes the book as more than «jippo» («PR gimmick»): The book is easy to read, where difficult words are replaced by good explanations. It is far from pretentious. With this book the three royals’ Arctic trips have become something very different from what it looked liked when they took place, an expensive «jippo» with a royalty-fixated press corps following them. With this book the two-part journey has become some of the most important they have done. The book will reach a totally different audience than the politicians, environmentalists and journalists normally establish contact with when the climate threat is on the agenda. Some people might be criticizing the royals for taking such a clear viewpoint on a topic which still, at least to some extent, is politically controversial.» The rather biased journalist concludes with the pompous line «I’d rather have brave royal heirs than vague and evasive politicians».

Well, it might be a good thing – at least occasionally – that royals dare to take a clear viewpoint. But many could as easily criticize them for once again being «politically correct». One wonders what the public would have said if the royal heirs had made a more critical view of «the established truths» about climate change and its causes?

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