I was working today, as one does for money, and work today involved a polar bear warning sign from somewhere in Norway. I had to write a little something about it and I wanted to make sure I was including the right information, because I am into facts and shit. And that's when I fell down an internet rabbit hole into Svalbard.
Svalbard is an archipelago located between Norway and the North Pole. Like, seriously in the middle of fucking snowy nowhere. Here it is on the map.
About 2000 people live there year round, making it the northernmost permanent settlement on the planet. They have a lot of polar bears there and you're not legally allowed to leave town without a rifle for protection. Svalbard is also home to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which is super cool (ahahahahah cool, DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE).
I don't know what it is about snowy wastelands that I find so compelling hahahahaha just kidding, I grew up in Edmonton. But when there's a frozen wasteland on offer, I can't look away. And in my poking around, I found out about a BBC Earth series called Ice Town: Life on the Edge, which follows some inhabitants of Svalbard through the seasons for 10 episodes. It JUST started to be available here and after watching the preview, I immediately bought a season's pass on iTunes.
I haven't had a chance to watch any yet but I am a little too excited. In the meantime, check out this hypnotic video about Svalbard that is free.