22 October 2021

#AntarcticLog: Amal, Shackleton, & Nansen

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here.

Last week I posted my 200th #AntarcticLog science comic, about the 200 million people that the World Bank estimates will have to move because of the effects of climate change. That present concern is well represented by the journey of Little Amal, a giant puppet of a Syrian refugee girl who is currently on a march of her own. 

Puppets touch my heart. I was enormously affected by the puppet performance 69º S, in which puppeteers on stilts wearing ethereal costumes work with marionettes to tell the story of the expedition led by Ernest Shackleton. This event a century old never fails to stir my heart strings, but never so much as in this staging — because I feel it reflects the compassion humans can have for others on difficult journeys. 

Fridtjof Nansen, another polar explorer, made enormous contributions to science, but to me the Nansen Passport — opening borders to those in need — represents his best work, and perhaps the best side of humanity. 

Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram