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From A Russian: Our Planet is So Small that We Must Live in Peace

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Rotary Clubs Bring Americans and Russians Together

Rotarian hosts in Yakutsk.
Rotarian hosts in Yakutsk.
(Image by Photo by Ann Wright)
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Rotarian hosts in Yakutsk.  Pete, Katya and Maria (Club President).
Rotarian hosts in Yakutsk. Pete, Katya and Maria (Club President).
(Image by Photo by Ann Wright)
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Rotarian hosts in Yakutsk. Alexi and Yvegeny with Ann
Rotarian hosts in Yakutsk. Alexi and Yvegeny with Ann
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Katya, Irina, Alvina, Kapalina.  Rotary hosts in Yakutsk.
Katya, Irina, Alvina, Kapalina. Rotary hosts in Yakutsk.
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My hosts in Yakutsk were members of Rotary Club International. Rotary clubs have been in Russia since the 1980s when American Rotarians visited Russian families through the Center for Citizens Initiatives and then reciprocated and invited Russians to visit the U.S. There are now over 60 chapters of Rotary in Russia. Rotary International has partnered with eight universities around the world to create Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution. Rotary provides funds for 75 scholars each year for two years of graduate study in one of eight universities around the world.

The next worldwide Rotary International conference will be in June 2020 in Honolulu and we hope that friends from Rotary chapters in Russia will be able to get visas to the U.S. so they can attend.

PermaICE, not Permafrost!!!

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During the winter, Yakutsk is reported to be the coldest city on earth during with average temperature of -40 degrees Centigrade. The city sits on permafrost, the 100 meters to one and a half kilometers thick ice blanket that lies only a few feet underground throughout northern Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Permafrost is a misnomer as far as I am concerned. It should be called the PermaICE as its ice, not frost that is the vast underground glacier hidden under only a few feet of earth.

As global warming heats up the earth, the glacier is beginning to melt. Buildings begin listing and sinking. Construction now requires buildings to be built on pilings to keep them off the ground and prevent their heating from contributing to the melting of the PermaICE. Should the massive underground glacier melt, not only will the coastal cities of the world be inundated, but water would be flowing deep into the continents. The permafrost museum carved out of an ice hill on the outskirts of Yakutsk provides an opportunity to get a glimpse of the vastness of the iceberg the north of the planet sits on. Ice carvings of themes of Yakutian life make the museum one of the most unique I have ever seen.

Wooly Mammoths Preserved in PermaICE

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The permafrost contributes to another unique aspect of Yakutia. The hunt for ancient mammals that roamed the earth tens of thousands of years ago is centered here. While the Gobi desert of Mongolia holds the remains of dinosaurs and their eggs, the permafrost of Yakutia has trapped the remains of the wooly mammoth. Expeditions to the vast area of the region called Sakha, of which Yakutia is a part, have succeeded in finding remarkably preserved remains of the wooly mammoth, so well preserved that blood slowly flowed from one carcass when it was chiseled from its icy tomb in 2013. Scientists took samples of the meat and are analyzing it. Using samples of the preserved meat, South Korean scientists are attempting to clone the wooly mammoth!

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Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand (more...)
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