The Naked Arctic Adventure is a new documentary featuring the founders of Green Is The New Black. Premiering next week, it is the story of two women and their journey to the Arctic, where they witness the effects of the climate crisis firsthand. Immersed in the beautiful Arctic landscape with adventurers, leaders, and change-makers from all over the world, they seek to answer one question. Is it too late to do anything about it?
You’re invited to join the official online premiere of The Naked Arctic Adventure, happening Thursday 25th November 12 PM CET, 7 PM SGT. Click here to get a reminder for the screening of the documentary (trailer here). Then join us via Zoom at 12:40 PM CET, 7:40 PM SGT for a post-screening chat with the Green Is The New Black founders, Steph & Paula and special guests. Register here.
In May 2019, we announced that our founders, Stephanie Dickson and Paula Miquelis, were busy packing their bags in preparation for the journey of a lifetime. They were heading to the Arctic Circle to study climate change and film a documentary aboard the National Geographic Explorer with Robert Swan. It was months of preparation in the making, which culminated in a two-week trip through the Svalbard Archipelago toward the North Pole. They, along with a group of 80 other youth ambassadors were looking for solutions to climate change.
Between exploring glaciers, trekking across tundra, sharing beaches with walruses in Edgeøya, hiking the cliffs of Kongsfjord, and more, they’ve come back with some answers. Next week, the documentary premieres online, worldwide. Mark your calendars for 25 November 2021, because The Naked Arctic Adventure will finally be available for viewing from anywhere in the world! Ahead of the premiere, we sat down with our founders to ask some questions all about it.
You basically went to the edge of the world to film this documentary. What was most memorable for you?
Stephanie Dickson: There was a moment when we went to see walruses in the wild. I’d obviously never seen them before, and they were the most hilarious animals I had ever seen. I fell to my knees giggling. At that moment, I was reminded of the importance of childlike play and wonder, as well as what we are really fighting to protect. Also, the midnight sun was really memorable. I’ve always been obsessed with sunsets, and at that time of year, the sun never sets… It’s insane. We’d have a perpetual sunset for six to eight hours overnight, and then the sun rises again. Pure magic.
Paula Miquelis: First, definitely when we went kayaking, it felt like we were so close to the water, the ice and the elements. It felt as if no human beings had ever walked this path—it was so pristine and untouched. I remember while kayaking behind Steph, we kept turning around in circles without moving. Suddenly, we heard a huge noise. People were stopping, and screaming a bit. There was a huge piece of iceberg, which was starting to flip upside down, creating a huge wave in front of us. The situation just froze us. We could only watch and see what would unfold. All was okay in the end, but it was definitely dramatic. And it made us realise that we were absolutely nothing in front of nature.
Another memorable moment was when we finally spotted polar bears, which can be extremely rare! The NatGeo team spotted a polar bear, which was staying still. In small groups, we started to approach the polar bear in our Zodiacs. When we approached the shore, where the polar bear was, we realised it was a mamma bear and her two cubs. That was extremely touching, and so special.
How did your goals and visions for the documentary change during and after the trip?
SD: When we started on this adventure, we had a loose idea of what we would film and create. It was more about living low-impact, and being as “naked” as we could, as consumers. In the end, it was a total discovery of how and why climate change is here. And that in fact, it’s not about us as individuals, but really big corporations, that have been causing so much damage. What we learned on the expedition was absolutely eye-opening. And we did our best to share that through the documentary, and the interviews with experts we were fortunate enough to include.
PM: At first, we were only supposed to create mini-videos interviewing the participants on board. We ended having so much content that we created a 40-minute long documentary! We had also initially wanted to focus the narrative on two girls facing challenging and extreme adventures in the Arctic, while on a vegan diet, carbon-neutral and zero-waste journey. It transformed, as Steph said, into a more profound and powerful and comprehensive storyline. Now, it’s a story of two women in their thirties, wanting to know if we could change something as complex and intangible as climate change, as human beings. It goes from the macro issue of the climate crisis, to the micro empowering solutions.
Why should we tune in to watch the premiere of this documentary?
SD: There is a lot of negativity and polarisation out there in the world, at the moment. It’s easy to want to shut down and shut off. Instead, we invite our community to join us on this journey. To firstly have a reminder of what the fight is for, and secondly, have hope. In the fact that we can turn this around. And thirdly, inspiration, from some of the amazing humans out there fighting the good fight.
PM: It is a powerful and short story for people who would like to know more about climate change, and about the solutions we can all implement on a daily basis as individuals. Overall, it’s really accessible. And to be honest, it is also quite a testament to the fact that anyone can do something. I’d consider myself an aspiring adventure filmmaker, and we actually started with no experience in production. And we still managed to get something off the ground—something that even got shown almost all around the world!
(Editor’s note: The Naked Arctic Adventure was first screened in 2019 in Singapore. After that, it made its way to the ECOCUP Film Festival in Moscow, and the Lulea International Film Festival in Sweden!)
Why is the story that The Naked Arctic Adventure tells important now?
SD: As I shared earlier, things can be tough and overwhelming! This film can hopefully bring back a little light and direction again, for those who are lost.
PM: I think it comes down to the word “Naked”, which is in the title of the documentary. It refers to, firstly, our naked polar plunge—yes you read it right! We got crazy enough to plunge naked in the icy cold water of the Arctic, and we even had to do it twice for the camera. But the word also refers to the authenticity of our approach, and the rawness of the way we decided to tell the story.