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Efficiently overwhelmed



Les hommes ici n’ont pas d’echarpes. Ils portent la barbe.

Et en general c’est bien assez.


Sunrise from the top of Ester Dome, AK (a 5 minutes walk from my home!)

Lance Mackey is a man who makes history. Lance just won the Iditarod. But he also is the first man to ever win four Iditarod in a row. As well as two Yukon quest and Iditarod in the same year.

I first heard of him…as a guy in the crowd for the Yukon Quest start was shouting Laaaaaance! Go man! Go! Do you know that man? I asked. The dude went green. If I know him? He is the best! The guy was so excited that Lance came by us in the last minutes before starting and shook hand with him. And as in the movies, I can say, as cheesy as it may sounds, that in fact, I won’t forget that man’s look. Full of what he was about to accomplish at the Yukon Quest and then, not long after, at the Iditarod.

And I was remembering all these books I red, the Nicolas Vanier stories, and shouted too: Allez les p’tits chiens! Yup yup!

And I encourage to have a look to awesome the Outreach material developed around the Iditarod. Good for teachers, parents, grandparents..

March 22 is world water day, so let’s talk water. This day is a global event on water quality, focusing on sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being. It is hard to exaggerate how critical this topic is to global sustainability.

Everything we think about regarding society, environment and sustainability has a water footprint – from agriculture to transport, energy, manufacturing.

Only 2.5% of the water on earth is fresh, and only 1% of the world water can be used as drinking water. Around the world, one billion people go without clean water, and 2.5 billions don’t have access to safe sanitation. Unsafe water causes over 2.2 million deaths each year.

The basic requirement per person per day is 20 to 40 liters of water free from contaminants and pathogens for the purposes of drinking and sanitation

Water quality is defined by its desired end use, as the “physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water necessary to sustain desired water use” (UN/ECE 1995).

Worldwide water quality is declining mainly due to human activities. Increasing population growth, rapid urbanization, discharge of new pathogens and new chemicals from industries and invasive species are key factors that contribute to the deterioration of water quality (

Simply put, we need brilliant ideas –and the technology and money that goes with it- and strong institutions to coordinate the issue of water quality challenges.

Discover what smart people do somewhere on the planet: (water filtration and delivery systems powered by renewable energy) (root hydratation system)

… Keep the list going…Tell us about the projects and initiatives you are excited about


sundancehelp brown buttonSvinafellsjokull  

credits: sundance, Brown Button,


# 1: Snow + Sun

My roommates are 75% veggies (one can resist a hamburger, one can’t), and eat healthily most of the time. Salads, veggies, oatmeal, blueberry beer (does that count?)…They use ingredients that look exotic to a foreigner (but not me anymore, he).

DSC04540 DSC04543 dried cranberries…


pumpkin seeds, agave nectar, tahini, weat berries, wild rice, cranberry sauce, yams…

and me, what do I eat?  DSC04553 no, I’m kidding.

Here are some things to know about Fairbanks (not in order of relevance)

1. First, it’s here:

j habite la 

The town in winter looks like this:

December morning

and the environment looks like this:

Ester Dome AK January 2010 View North East


2. We don’t say 20 BELOW, we just say 20. No need to be more specific, that’s pretty obvious.

  DSC01514 DSC02322

3. Lots of people live in dry cabins (no indoor plumbing) outside of town (because pipes freeze, there is permafrost and water is pretty expensive). That’s why you’ll see people carrying around their shampoo at work, and why you see water tanks at the back of the (big) trucks


4. One thing you become very good at: chop wood and use a woodstove


5. Another thing: you can jump start a car one handed and eyes closed

6. 4 wheel drive is mandatory. Most streets here are unplowed snowy paths in the woods. Lots, lots of hills and steep driveways.

7. Outhouse = bathroom for dry cabins. Even in houses with indoor plumbing, we ask for the outhouse.


8. Because of the thermal inversion (the cold air is heavier), it is way warmer at the top of the hills in winter. The colder it is, the lower the steam is.

 DSC0119817 dec 09 031

9. Dog team crossings and skier crossings are frequent

Marie_Field_Nov09_and_perso 216

10. You start recognizing people by their hat and gloves

DSC02727 DSC02728

11. Coffee huts all over town


12. Cars are winterized and have to be plugged-in when not in use.

Copy of DSC04298 

13. THE music here is bluegrass

20 dec 09 003

14. UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks) is the center of the town (but shhh)

DSC02414 DSC02911

15. Roller Derby is popular here. Go Fairbanks Roller Girls!


16. The light is awesome


17. You bring your trash directly to the transfer station


18. Alaska Airlines is THE airline


19.  The car to have: Subaru

20 dec 09 088

20. Fairbanks is dog-friendly


21. Cross-country skiing is the national sport



More to come…


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Credit: gilad33 and jrj on Trek Earth



The Iditarod is the most famous, difficult and followed of the sled dog races in the world.  The start was last Saturday. From Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast, each team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher cover over 1150 miles in 10 to 17 days.

Click here for the updates and here for education material. Have a look here too.




Ben and MercyMe in Fairbanks, March 4th.

DSC03316 DSC03317DSC03318DSC03761DSC03780DSC03807DSC03817DSC03822DSC03831DSC03835DSC02892DSC02825DSC02826DSC02863DSC01547DSC01540DSC02366DSC01073


Are you hungry now?

sonia-rykiel-fall-2011-06 cherry blossom

That would be awesome.


Sonya Rykiel Fall 2011 via Cherry Blossom Girl

methane graphics 2 How methane is producedthaw lakeTKL Czudek 1970  

Ok guys, if you use this, thanks for citing my name.


…Almost forgot. I am surprisingly not eager to jump into spring. Love the snow and the lattes. But it feels great to think of blossoming trees. Could we have the flowers AND the snow?


PS don’t forget me about the International Polar Year Conference

Picture Hula Seventy