Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge by Jill Fredston

The author and her husband have rowed something like 20,000 miles of coastline way the heck up in Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Svalbard (yeah, I didn’t know where it was, either; it’s north of Scandinavia. Honestly, I didn’t know there was anything north of Scandinavia, except for the North Pole.) This book is fun to read—while it seems that she was groomed from a young age to do this kind of thing, it’s still pretty amazing, and she has great stories about run-ins with bears and whales.

My complaints: she says that the earth would be better off without people, which is a ridiculous statement in my opinion. She’s pretty critical of native people who leave trash around and doesn’t like the southern part of Norway, which has oil refineries next to nature preserves, but she doesn’t seem to consider how much damage she herself might be doing to the planet by flying all over it in jet planes and shipping a huge rowboat everywhere she goes, not to mention the materials required for the construction of that boat and her fancy outdoor gear. Staying put in Labrador and leaving trash around probably defiles our planet less than her traveling and other consumption, and Norway is apparently willing to live with the reality of their consumption, rather than hiding it away somewhere undesirable and unseen like the rest of us. But I’ve already gotten riled up enough about that. I really did enjoy the book.


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