On Thin Ice

January 31, 2012

At 10am on December 19th, 2011 I received a call from Al Gore. I was at the gym when his secretary, Beth, who has a sweet Tennessee accent dialed me asking if I had a few minutes to speak with the Vice President. Of course I said, I don’t care much for squats anyway.

Over the next 3 minutes I listened with a dropped jaw as the iconic voice of environmental protection, conservation, and climate change invited me to join him on a once in a lifetime journey to the icy blue bottom of our warming green earth. Antarctica.

The goal he said, is to see for myself, up close and personal, one of the most important places on the planet, while learning from top scientists and researchers, all of whom have decades of experience in the region, how rapidly our climate is changing and what it means for the world as a whole. He kind of went on and on as if I needed to be convinced to go on a trip like this. I actually stopped him. I’d caught wind of this event a few weeks prior and was honored that I’d been selected to go.

And so, for the past 40 hours now, I’ve been earning my sea legs on board the National Geographic Explorer, a Lindblad expedition ship that set sail from Ushuaia, Argentina on Sunday. By the time this is posted, I will be on thin ice. Literally.

For the week to come I’ll be exploring the Antarctic Peninsula with The Climate Reality Project, an assembly of minds gathered here from all over the world that works as a kind of floating symposium, much like the TED talks series. In fact, a few of my favorite speakers from the TED series are here, like the brilliant neuroscientist Jill Bolte-Taylor and the famed National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen, who’s been giving me photography lessons.

Our mission is to download information and ideas from one-another in order to return home with stories and solutions, that which might wake up the world to the very serious climate issue.

What’s the issue? In my opinion, it’s food.

The moment the weather goes, so too does our food supply. Droughts, floods, rising sea levels, the change of ocean salinity, all goes against our ability to drink water, grow food, and sustain human life. Sure we can eat processed food, or each other, but I’d rather learn and apply the common sense ways to reduce and/or stop my carbon emissions altogether and live in harmony with the planet, the place that we are a part of, not separate from.

We are not passengers here. We are earthlings. This is our home. The mother from which we sprang. We can be as vital to her system as the sun itself. And we are! Yet, at the moment we’re acting more like a disease than ass-kicking white blood cells. What’s it going to take for us to collectively wake up and make a difference that actually makes a difference?

I’m here to find out.

Stay Tuned.

  • Avatar of nikke.osterback

    Amazing. Wish I could take this voyage with Jason

  • Avatar of Zulya
    Zulya said ...

    Yes! we can eat each other! but id rather be an ass-kicking white blood cell!! keep on rocking J!

  • Avatar of danilunia
    danilunia said ...

    It’s all about LOVE for Mother Earth

    Be my eyes looking
    Be my mind learning and thinking about
    Be my body moving there
    Be my mouth asking
    and please when back TELL ME about EVERY WONDER you’ve been overcome by
    show me EVERY EMOTION that crossed your heart
    and it will almost be as if I was there too.

    Hard job, so many things to tell.

    Be my eyes.


  • Avatar of MillieD
    MillieD said ...

    Thank You.

  • Avatar of mrazwordplay
    mrazwordplay said ...

    Al Gore called YOU! So cool. Al Gore was at We Day Vancouver 2010 (I was there!)

    “Never ever doubt for one moment that you can change the world in a positive way,” Gore told the crowd from a stage set up in the middle of Rogers Arena. “You are already doing so.”

    “You have now heard a challenge to change the world for the better,” he added. “You can educate yourself. You can continue to gain the knowledge and skill that is necessary for you to become effective in making this world a better place.

    “You can continue to nurture the optimism and idealism in your hearts. Never give up.”



    PS: love the matching outfits (& hair)

  • Avatar of MarLuna
    MarLuna said ...

    I haven’t watched TV for at least 3yrs (videos only) and I’ve dropped reading the news for 2 years (I was obsessed with politics and it was a losing battle of positive production). I refuse to spend a splendid moment on fashion or celebrity gossip. Now I maybe graze the headlines stopping only on things that I’m drawn to. Today before heading here I found this article. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46227647/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/stunning-photo-captures-growing-antarctic-ice-rift/

    It’s really happening people, read and see photos of the world (I have my copy of Al’s book) and recently reading my kids dinosaur books showing how the climate and how the world naturally goes into changes, moving. I’m not saying it’s all a natural course, I’m not there with Jason learning specifically; but things had to change. Where the dinosaurs and other species too much for Mama Earth to take, did they get to be too much to handle as we are now? I do believe we add much unnecessary stress and ruin to Gaia.

    Second article I read today: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57369521/isolated-peru-tribe-turns-into-tourist-attraction/
    This is deeply disturbing, we have awoken peaceful villagers those who know how to live in their means; and we find it cute and we take their innocent lives from them. They are learning to take, as we have shown them. What have you given or grown or planted this year? Its true food is a major issue, we need manicured lawns to become food gardens and our neighbors to become an extended family trading business (trading happening in Greece –it all starts over again where our history began).

    Thanks for the exploration to exploitations, send our blessing on each wave and rock you pass, and hopefully others can pass the way you once came.

  • Avatar of crystale80
    crystale80 said ...

    Jason you are getting the exact words the first analysis what’s the problem.They could choose the best ambassador that you and i love you as for your commitment to our planet that for your universe musical, you are a all.You are not born yet that we protect this one but we are facing the great powers that their only concern is the power of money(more and more).A TREMENDOUS THANK YOU JASON.

  • Avatar of itsanatalie
    itsanatalie said ...

    December 19th? As in the date of my last concert? Oooooh!!! i’m so happy to have shared that day with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Avatar of iamchay
    iamchay said ...

    a question …you that country or region is?

  • Avatar of iamchay
    iamchay said ...

    Jason is great that you do these scientists know the subject, are always warning about the environmental problematic … but unfortunately always heard :(
    I was thinking … you should already know all of our planet cotinentes
    I was illusioned to know you were here in Argentina .. I thought you were here to talk about your next concerts (which is what I want) :)
    but you always surprise me .. for better. You are a wonderful person! :)
    never change and I totally agree with you … we earthlings belong to this planet and the planet is ours too, we have rights and liability with respect to our planet … I hope that this blog to tell us what you learned on your journey and what you taught scientists in Antarctica. :)

  • Avatar of gamachan
    gamachan said ...

    I wish I was there too!

    That’s the most beautiful adventure ever: running after penguins!

  • Avatar of lanakila23
    lanakila23 said ...

    This is a great thing that your a part of. We are all one human family – and one codependent system here on planet earth. We have still such a long ways to go in order for the culture and mindset of modern people to realize that humans and nature are not separate – but integrally connected. What can I do to be a part of this?? Seriously? I studied anthropology and enviro. science at university and I want so much to do with my career and life something that gives back and enriches this world. Blessings to you Jason and the rest of your crew.

  • Avatar of ashley
    ashley said ...

    I’m here to find out too, here in my little town by the sea.
    And I’m ready to work.

    And I CANNOT believe you’re on a boat with JILL FREAKING BOLTE-TAYLOR.
    I love her.

  • Avatar of Ally
    Ally said ...

    Will you bring us back a souvenier, J? Maybe a Tee?

    Jason Mraz went to Antarctica, and all we got was this crummy T-shirt! :)

    I hope you packed your long underpants? You can’t run around in those teeny tiny little black panties you usually wear…..at -52, a man’s testicles will drop right off…

    Be safe, and protect your eyes, too!


  • Avatar of CarmenS
    CarmenS said ...

    “Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.”
    - John Jakes

    But, you already know that- a five says you’re nodding your head.

    Much love,

  • Avatar of Goody
    Goody said ...

    It must be an unforgetable experience, especially when you find you can do something for the whole human beings living on Earth.

  • Avatar of costellocrew5
    costellocrew5 said ...

    Wow – that is quite an honor. I am envisioning a new song or two coming out of your week in addition to a whole lot of knowledge! I think most people sort of acknowledge global warming but are living moment to moment and find it difficult to think beyond the next day. Most (but not all!) humans seem to only adapt or change habits when faced with a crisis that directly impacts them. No excuses, but life for many is a daily struggle and it is hard to do something “harder” for the greater good. Just thinking out-loud here…

    Connecticut got 15 inches of snow on October 30th (a devastating storm to the state and area – our town lost power for 8-14 days as trees split like toothpicks) and now today, the last day of January, it was nearly 60 degrees. Something is definitely wrong. People around me ARE noticing….we had more snow in October than we’ve had in December or January. It is weird.

    So – I say that with the knowledge you gain, find ways to share as many specific details and suggestions that the average Joe (or Jane :) can relate to and consider. And then of course, people need to hear new ideas like 12 times before they are willing to recognize or apply the ideas. That’s where the song-writing comes in. A song on repeat can penetrate even the most stubborn mind. I can’t tell you how many times “I Won’t Give Up” has applied to my life this past week – it has been very useful to access the power in that song. “The absence of the light is a necessary part” is another truth that I’ve called upon this week!

    Safe skating to you… xox JRJID

  • Avatar of Sarahm
    Sarahm said ...

    I am truly jealous! I have always wanted to have the experiences that you are honored enough to have but I am disabled. The thing I am proud of is that my 18 month old granddaughter knows hoe to recycle and has her own vegetable garden. I may not be changing a lot in this world but i am trying to teach our future to preserve what we have and if every parent and/or grandparent good try that they might have a chance! Congratulations!

  • Avatar of corinneem
    corinneem said ...

    hmmmm stayed there on the last day of 2011 in Ushuaia, spend a day at the Beagle Cabal….enjoy your time overthere Jason, take with you the fresh air, beauty and silentness….I wont forget this wonderfull place

  • Avatar of corinneem
    corinneem said ...

    enjoy the beauty overthere…..spend the last day of 2011 in Ushuaia…travelled on the Beagle Canal…it makes you feel little and silent…take lots of deep breaths and enjoy freshness/beauty and feel how and what this does to you inside!!!! have a nice time!!

  • Avatar of SheilaSoCal
    SheilaSoCal said ...

    Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing this adventure with us.

  • Avatar of johnnyxnl
    johnnyxnl said ...

    Sounds like a awesome chance to do something good, I hope you learn useful information!

  • Avatar of trendiwendy
    trendiwendy said ...

    Very cool, especially how u get chosen to do these awesome things…but one question for you…what’s up with you and Mona dressing the same every day lol lol, reminds me of Geranimals, remember those…anyway, on a serious note, good luck and thank you for caring so much and for your input on our output…what a cool life u lead, feel free to take me with you on your next trip! ps: do u really read these comments, does my input really count? just askin???????

  • Avatar of nini
    nini said ...

    Keep on with what you are doing, as you are doing it great!

  • Avatar of nini
    nini said ...

    Keep on doing what you do, as you are doing it great!

  • Avatar of GloriousMe
    GloriousMe said ...

    Enjoy. Hug Al Gore for me!

  • Avatar of hanameow
    hanameow said ...

    Go Go GO! Cant’ wait to see the world through your eyes!!!

  • Avatar of WakeUpEveryone

    You have earned all these amazing opportunities that are coming your way. I dream of living a life similar to yours someday.
    Can’t wait to see the photographs and hear more about this. You inspire me to be truly alive!

  • Avatar of nanx3
    nanx3 said ...

    Nuestro planeta necesita de voces que alerten e instruyan sobre los desastres que estamos haciendo con nuestra casa. Una sugerencia de mi flia. es ..Por qué no terminamos con el mercado negro de Bonos de Carbono?? Sería muy importante para reducir las emisiones.
    Jason te admiro como músico, me encanta tu música y creo que sos una persona muy sensible; por lo cual espero que tu trabajo y tu visión de esta expedición sea así como vos, muy sensible pero a la vez muy realista como para contagiar al mundo entero y ponernos todos a trabajar en favor de nuestra tierra. Estas en uno de los lugares privilegiados del planeta disfrútalo, siéntelo y vívelo intensamente. Beso

  • Avatar of 4meclara
    4meclara said ...

    Finally ‘the weather forecast for Antarctica’ makes sense to me. Then I was: “What?…” Now I’m speechless… Congrats! Waiting for your inspiring pictures then!

  • Avatar of shorekimmy
    shorekimmy said ...

    Staying tuned. Earning your sea legs …are you getting sea sick?

  • Avatar of ChildofEarth
    ChildofEarth said ...

    What an incredible opportunity! Can’t wait to hear more from the expedition!

  • Avatar of wpkat
    wpkat said ...

    From one earthling to another, your willingness to explore issues that deserve our attention and action is truly appreciated. Keep learning and using that amazing talent to tell stories that inspire positive change. Every bit of effort, no matter how small, really does change the world.

  • Avatar of jamiepetkov
    jamiepetkov said ...