Perhaps you have been feeling a little under the weather lately — hot, drippy, tired, not your usual self. As a rule, when you’re in this sort of condition, you don’t want visitors. Especially not spoiled visitors coming to gawk at your diminished state.
So you can imagine, maybe, how Antarctica felt when 90 students from the private and extremely chi-chi Hotchkiss School showed up on a luxury cruise liner with the heir to the Mars candy empire, intending to witness both its beauty and its hot, drippy global warming-induced sickness. You have to figure that Antarctica took one look at the cruise liner — full of sophomores, juniors, and seniors enjoying duck pâté, apple sorbet, beer-battered Mars Bars, walk-in closets, and hot tubs — and thought OH HELL NO. No wonder it decided to send a gigantic 30-foot wave at the ship, shattering the windows and making half the students fear for the lives and the other half jump for joy because now they had a Real, Challenging Experience to write about in their college essays.
The students were on a three-week trip that was scheduled to take them from Argentina, past South Georgia Island, and on to the southernmost continent. Why were they there at all? Because that is what rich kids get to do, in the name of finding their professional calling and getting out of their parents’ hair during winter break. And because, logically, you should fly an entire planeful of kids halfway around the world and put them on a gas-guzzling luxury cruise ship in order to teach them about climate change.
The wave, and the storm that caused it, kept the ship from reaching Antarctica in the end. One student wrote of the episode, “We stand no chance on board because the elements have no emotion.” We beg to differ. We think the elements had a very clear emotion and it was: Stay the hell away from me, you meat-eating, carbon-spewing crazy people.
- On Antarctic Trip, Students Encounter Whales and a 30-Foot Wave , The New York Times