Google Maps and 'Game of Thrones' Star Team Up to Highlight Climate Change in Greenland
Google is going to the ends of the Earth to get the message out on climate change.
Google Maps announced on Tuesday a project with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, “Game of Thrones” actor and U.N. goodwill ambassador, that takes Street View to southern Greenland.
“One of the challenges with climate change, and explaining what it, is that it's very hard to see,” Coster-Waldau told Travel + Leisure. “It's hard to feel it because it's one degree, two degrees a year.” But those degrees add up, and images of Greenland—especially over time—are one way to tell the story.
Coster-Waldau, who is Danish-born but whose wife is from Greenland and whose family has a home in Greenland's Igaliku, is focused on increasing awareness of climate change as part of the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals.
And so when Google called about trekking to remote locations in Greenland, he was up for the adventure.
“One of my favorite moments of the trip was when we got in a helicopter and went over these glaciers that feed off the ice cap,” Coster-Waldau told T+L. “We managed to land our helicopter on these huge icebergs that were stranded and slowly melting. It was an unbelievable experience.”
In addition to showing the landscapes of Greenland on Street View, Google also put together a timelapse showing how snow and ice coverage has changed over recent years.
One of the highlighted regions is the end of the South Greenland glacier, which is melting at an increased pace due to global warming, according to Google.
“Greenland is a kind of spectacular, grand scenic place, the likes of which you're not going to find anywhere else,” Alex Starns, technical program manager for Google Street View, told T+L.
Coster-Waldau said he also hopes that bringing awareness to Greenland will boost tourism, though you shouldn't expect Greenland to be the next Iceland.
The lack of infrastructure makes it impossible to attract as many tourists as Iceland, he said. “But I think once you get up there, it is like no other place on Earth.”
Even if Greenland doesn't make it on your bucket list, climate change's effects on the country shouldn't go unnoticed.
“We're all invested in this,” said Coster-Waldau. “We can't separate our little part of the world from the rest, because that's just not the way it works.”