Love of the Arctic People (Bill Simpson)

Video Shot in: 2009

Bill Simpson loves working with people in the Arctic because it’s essential to understand and feel the environment to do good science. Even though robotic systems can go to places that are too dangerous for humans, they can’t replace the ground truth provided by locals who have seen the changes in the Arctic over time. Bill finds it exciting to work with people like Carl Kippy, a hunter from Barrow, who is interested in the research on halogen chemistry related to mercury, a concern for people who eat certain foods in the region. Bill also appreciates the insights and observations that locals provide and how they can point out things that he wouldn’t see otherwise. He recalls an experience of snow sampling in Barrow with Carl and how he learned from him about the richness and variability of snow, something that only locals would know. Bill finds working with people in the Arctic very different than working in places like Alert, a Canadian station located beyond native people’s land, where there are no leads or open water.