‘BEARING WITNESS TO SVALBARD’S FRAGILE SPLENDOR’: Latest NY Times photo series of ‘world’s most compelling places’ debuts with inevitable ‘collapse’ of ‘etheral’ ecosystem


It’s not exactly breaking news – especially since it’s from a visit in 2017 – but another stark warning about Svalbard’s future is at the top of The New York Times’ website on Monday, in the form of an essay where the photos are meant to convey a message outsiders might not grasp in words.

Marcus Westberg’s musings about the seemingly inevitable loss of an environment that appears literally frozen in time are featured in the latest “The World Through A Lens” series the Times is featuring since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — in which photojournalists help transport you, virtually, to some of our planet’s most compelling places.”

“Unfortunately, climate change all but guarantees an eventual (and probably fairly imminent) collapse of what is, in fact, an exceptionally fragile ecosystem,” Westberg wrote. “The 29 national parks and other protected areas that cover two-thirds of the Svalbard archipelago can protect its wild inhabitants from hunting and pollution, but not from increasing water and air temperatures.”

It’s hardly the only prominent exposure recently in the paper of “all the news that’s fit to print.” Another December feature published in 2019 explored the wonders of New Year’s in the archipelago and a “Daily 360” item in 2017 featured a virtual tour of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, among other articles.