This project started in October 2015 with a crazy idea: prepare and submit a funding application for an international, multidisciplinary and non-traditional scientific outreach project… within the next 48 hours.
Well, it worked out. A group of highly motivated young researchers from Canada and Europe united to build a project combining arts and science: a series of comic strips about permafrost (frozen ground). The project aim is to present and to explain the scientific research conducted across the Circum-Arctic, putting emphasis on field work. It would be targeted to kids, youth, parents and teachers, with the general goal of making permafrost science more fun and accessible to the public.
Because guess what: permafrost can be found over an area of more than twenty million square kilometers in the Northern Hemisphere, which is a huge area. As climate warms permafrost thaws, becomes unstable for houses and roads, and releases carbon in the atmosphere as greenhouse gas, making climate change even stronger. Hence, permafrost properties and response to climate change should concern us all. The project got support from the International Permafrost Association (IPA) as a targeted ‘Action Group’, and since then several other sponsors jumped in the project.
Here we are now, two years after this first idea. What you are about to read is the result of a constant progress of exchanging ideas between artists and scientists. We first made an application call and received 49 applications from 16 countries. We then selected two artists to work with: Noémie Ross from Canada, and Heta Nääs from Finland. With inputs from scientists, Noémie and Heta created two fantastic cartoons that explain some of the changes happening to the environment in permafrost areas, how they affect people and wildlife and what scientists are doing to better understand these changes and to help people to find innovative ways to adapt. We wish everyone plenty of fun reading this book and we would like to thank all those who supported this project.