Is Svalbard vegan friendly???

Travel and location information for vegans, restaurant, hotel, B&B etc reviews. If you want to meet people from some area, post here.

Moderators: hardcore iv, fredrikw, JP, stateofflux

Is Svalbard vegan friendly???

Postby Gelert » Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:49 pm

I'm planning to go to Svalbard in the high Arctic next summer for a postgraduate course in polar microbiology. It's something I've really wanted to do for over two years but has been put on the backburner.

One very big snag. When I first considered it, I was omni. Does anybody know if vegan foods are generally available in Longyearben itself?

Considering that it is 600 miles north of the Norwegian mainland, and a small-ish community, I am a bit worried that it may not be vegan-friendly. Either lugging my own food (enough for a balanced diet with up to 6000 cal per day for five weeks) or going veggie or poss even omni doesn't appeal to me at all.

So if anyone around here has been on Svalbard, I'd be really grateful for your advice...

Gelert
User avatar
Gelert
Active Member
 
Posts: 6931
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 10:19 pm

Postby fredrikw » Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:58 pm

Haven't been there myself, but a friends mom was there on a solo trip when she turned 50. Seemed like a awesome place to visit, if it weren't for the fact that they all carry guns to protect themselves from polar bears... it's quite common that they shoot polar bears that comes too close to Longyearbyen or any other human habitat, and it annoys the hell out of me that we humans that in fact are able choose where to live and travel force ourselves to places where this is "necessary".

Sorry to be so negative, and not really answering your question, but animal rights-wise I think this is a very important aspect of travelling to this place.
--- non-racers. the emptiness of those lives shocks me ---
User avatar
fredrikw
Site Admin
 
Posts: 10719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 12:46 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Postby Gelert » Wed Aug 31, 2005 9:45 pm

No Fredrik - no apologies needed. It is something that concerns me too. I am eternally aware of the fact that I'd be on the bear's territory and I would play it according to the bear's rules.

The guns are a last resort in the rare occurence you not only see a polar bear but that in the even rarer occurence that s/he decides to charge at you. Shooting polar bears is very illegal and the government instantly prosecutes you - you must convince them that you had no other alternative. As to what the government itself does with "stray" bears I don't know, but in Hudson bay, bears are darted and relocated.

Travellers on the ice are advised to stay away from risk areas (such as on the edges of the icepack where bears would be hunting) and carry non-lethal repellants. I am told that experienced workers find bringing a dog,
not only for the companionship but as a guard dog works best.

I would imagine it is far more likely to shoot oneself or a colleague, accidentally or intentionally (long polar days...) and especially where the gung-ho attitude of taking the weapon everywhere prevails - banks are the only exception.

Image

Personally I am not sure what I'd do in the situation if I were stupid enough to let it arise - whether a dead vegan with morals intact is better than a live one with compromised morals...
User avatar
Gelert
Active Member
 
Posts: 6931
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 10:19 pm

Postby fredrikw » Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:14 am

yeah, but we still have the option of not going there in the first place. how many polar bears are we willing to sacrifice for our "right" to be there?
--- non-racers. the emptiness of those lives shocks me ---
User avatar
fredrikw
Site Admin
 
Posts: 10719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 12:46 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Postby JP » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:32 am

lets look at the statistics here, how man y polar bear attacks are there per year?

If this is much like the wolf and bear hysteria in finland (and presumably sweden) where in total two people have been killed by bears in past 100 years (one of them being a jogger who slammed straight into a bear and the bear threw him away killing him), then i guess that is not much of an issue, or is it?

You might also find that some veggie groups would make trips like this in a group, which would make being vegan much easier. I seem to remember different veggie adventure travel groups advertised here and there...
User avatar
JP
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19190
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 4:14 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany

Postby fredrikw » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:41 am

According to a report from the Norwiegan Polar Institute from 2005: (http://npiweb.npolar.no/cwobjekter/nettsted/isbjorn_skjermv_engelsk.pdf)

[quote]In Svalbard, people have been killed on several occasions, including incidents in recent years. On average, three bears have been killed every year during the period from 1993 to 2004 in encounters with humans, i.e. in self-defence.


So the comparison to the wolf and bear hysteria in Finland in Sweden isn't really a valid one I'd say.
--- non-racers. the emptiness of those lives shocks me ---
User avatar
fredrikw
Site Admin
 
Posts: 10719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 12:46 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Postby Gelert » Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:43 am

Thanks JP for your input! :)

I don't wish to be flippant or come over as being angry, and the death of three polar bears per annum is three too many - but how many are dying / threatened because of pollution and loss of the ice pack?

This is something most people in Western society contribute to without even a second thought. It is for this reason I am more concerned by the flights I have to take to get up there rather than the offchance of being confronted by a polar bear.

Why are we saying that we shouldn't be in the Arctic? Where is it OK to be? Is it only OK to be in say Wales, because we have already killed off the wildlife that is intent on feeding on us? My personal opinion is we have no right to be anywhere. This isn't our planet and to assume that there are places where we have no right to be instantly credits us with the right to be some places, which ultimately legitimises the damage we do there.

I feel I have valid reasons to go to the Arctic. I am training as a research microbiologist and my primary interest is how anthropogenic ecosystem damage drives the emergence of infectious diseases and microbial evolution in general. This includes the responses of soil fungi to increased soil temperature UV irradiation and CO2 concentrations. The Arctic is one such place where soil temperatures will raise greatly. The broad strokes of what this would cause is a great increase in soil respiration rates.

This would be a strong source of CO2 (and also methane) emissions, directly caused by man. And something ignored by almost all laymen and many experts.

I am not saying that people going up there on say, holidays, or expeditions have less valid reasons than mine, but valuable research that I really hope will help us come to a new understanding of what man's relationship with the environment ought to be can only be accomplished by going in harm's way.
User avatar
Gelert
Active Member
 
Posts: 6931
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 10:19 pm

Postby fredrikw » Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:06 am

I'm not saying you shouldn't go, I'm just saying that this situation should be part of the calculations. People going on expeditions and holidays rarely do this I think. You raise many valuable points here Gelert, and I'm sure you will do what you find best. No hard feelings I hope.
--- non-racers. the emptiness of those lives shocks me ---
User avatar
fredrikw
Site Admin
 
Posts: 10719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 12:46 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Postby Fruitbat » Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:11 am

if my opinion counts fo anything - i think you both have good points. I dont think people should NOT go somewhere on the planet that belongs as much to us as it does any other living creature, but people MUST respect the local environement whether it be people and culture, wildlife or eco-systems etc The worst bit is bound to be the travel costs on the environment and the supporting of organisations that do not respect the above (i.e. the organisaton that kill polar bears)- that would probably extend to the companies that run the surivial courses and supply expeditions with "defense" fire-arms.


Getting back on topic for the vegan food thing - well I would be highly surprised if there were many vegan options available. I would take large supply of calorie-dense foods and when I went into food places ask for simple things like potatoes and vegetables. It creates a little fuss but its up to us to be strong in the face of mainstream vegan-ignorance. If you stay anywhere for long - consult the chef and ask for his help. Scout the local shops of which there are bound to be some - for a supplu of nuts and seeds. Take plenty of rebars and maybe consider some protein powder.
User avatar
Fruitbat
Active Member
 
Posts: 8638
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 8:24 am
Location: Mid-Wales (UK)

Postby Gelert » Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:19 am

No hard feelings whatsoever :)

You are right - people tend not to calculate this in to the situation, just as people forget about many other sources of harm to Nature.

I spent most of last night awake assessing and reassessing what I would do. I value non-human animal life as much as human animal life. But do I value my own life more? - enough to feel I could respond in the same way to an attack from an animal as one from a human?
User avatar
Gelert
Active Member
 
Posts: 6931
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 10:19 pm

Postby Tarz » Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:50 am

I haven't read the replies yet, but I very much doubt it :wink:
Tarz
Active Member
 
Posts: 1294
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:58 pm

Postby JP » Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:54 am

i actually was going to get on a high horse about the polution to get there and the potential impact of your stay - but as you stated, the visit would aid you in your potentially very beneficial work in the future, so it is a balancing act. For sure i would rather have peeps like you going there, than just some dude looking for kicks :D

How long is the stay? if it is not months, then perhaps you could indeed pack your own food for the sources that you will lack there. I presume they will have the basic foodstuffs there, but then will add animal products, at which point you could add your things. Dried and tightly packed things such as lentils, tvp, quinoa (!) wont take much space anyway.
User avatar
JP
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19190
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 4:14 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany

Postby Fruitbat » Thu Sep 01, 2005 10:12 am

espcially quinoa flakes - almost ready instantly!
User avatar
Fruitbat
Active Member
 
Posts: 8638
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 8:24 am
Location: Mid-Wales (UK)

Postby Gelert » Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:45 pm

Yup carrying my own food is a possibility I'd mulled over - and might actually be cheaper than a local omni diet :D

Unfortunately I'd be there for five weeks and although I'd not be sledging (at least not throughout) I'd need 4-5000 cal per day - 175,000 calories in total. Of course I can bulk up before going and supplement with locally available vegan food (and even moss :cry: ) but I have an occasional bad back and the days of hauling half of my body weight in a bergen are well and truly over.

I am warming to the idea as I sense a challenge in it though, and it would be an interesting experiment / trial run in itself.
User avatar
Gelert
Active Member
 
Posts: 6931
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 10:19 pm

Postby fredrikw » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:27 pm

if your staying for five weeks and occasionally come to Longyearbyen perhaps you can have someone send you dried food regularly so you don't have to carry it all with you when you go. I bet Fruity will be happy sending you Quinoa :D
--- non-racers. the emptiness of those lives shocks me ---
User avatar
fredrikw
Site Admin
 
Posts: 10719
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 12:46 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Next

Return to Travel, Locations and Reviews

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron