<em>In the Empire of Ice</em>

arts & lectures

In the Empire of Ice

Arts & Lectures Brings Gretel Ehrlich to Campbell Hall

Writer and S.B. Native Shares Her Tales from the Arctic Circle

If a self-reflective naturalist ever got down with a literary anthropologist, they could expect Gretel Ehrlich to come from the womb. The Santa Barbara-born, Wyoming-residing author—whose previous books have detailed her adjustment to wilderness living and an encounter with a lightning bolt—releases her latest effort this year with the publication of In the Empire of Ice: Encounters in a Changing Landscape, an intimate examination of Arctic Circle residents and how global warming has affected their icy worlds. Ehrlich, who’s been visiting Greenland for nearly two decades now, is coming to UCSB on September 30 to discuss her book in a free event at Campbell Hall at 8 p.m. Call 893-3535 or visit Below, you’ll find a sampling of what you’ll learn if you go:

1] Why She Went: “I’m really interested in how landscape shapes the way people think and move and work together, or not. … They share the same language, same legends, same material culture, same intellectual culture. … It’s the only culture in the whole world that spans 6,000 miles, and that is the coastline along the Arctic Sea. They were insulated by ice. It’s a wonderful place to see how culture evolved.”

In the Empire of Ice: Encounters in a Changing Landscape

  • Where: UCSB Campbell Hall, 574 Mesa Rd., Santa Barbara, CA
  • Cost: Free
  • Age limit: Not available

Full event details

2] Whom She Met: “These are people who don’t give up. They go out every single day of their lives and hunt, no matter what. They’re incredibly clever—they can make anything work. … They have patience, resilience, self-discipline, creativity, a complete ability to work together. To me, those are the survival toolkit for society.”

3] What’s Happening There: “Unfortunately, they are reaping the sins of our carbon world. The book is really about the destruction of this really sublime culture that reaches all the way from the northeast coast of Siberia to Greenland.”

4] How It Affects Us: “It’s a terrible tragedy, but it’s not unrelated to us, because the Arctic drives the climate for the whole world. The ice sequesters 25 percent of the carbon. It’s the natural air conditioner of the world. … We’re all part of this. It’s not just something that’s happening to the people at the top of the world.”

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