Ulyana Na­dia Horodyskyj

Men's Journal - - THE ESCAPE ARTIST -

CHANCES ARE THAT if you study cli­mate change, as 32-year-old Horodyskyj does, you’re head­ing to some of the most ex­treme places on the planet: the ice­fields of Mount Ever­est, the fjords of Baffin Is­land, the glaciers atop Kil­i­man­jaro. That’s be­cause it’s those places where the ef­fects of a chang­ing planet are of­ten most eas­ily ob­served. “For me, science and ad­ven­ture go hand-in-hand,” she says. The sci­en­tist, part-time pro­fes­sor, and as­sis­tant moun­tain guide has been track­ing snow and ice con­di­tions since 2008. In 2016, she founded Science in the Wild to bring ad­ven­tur­ous cit­i­zens along to help col­lect data and see science in ac­tion. Her lat­est re­search, study­ing the im­pact of soot from North Amer­i­can wild­fires, took her to Nor­way’s des­o­late Sval­bard ar­chi­pel­ago in 2018, with a doc­u­men­tary film com­ing this year about cli­mate change and in­dus­trial pol­lu­tion.

Science has taken you to some ex­treme places. What’s been the most re­mote?

The Coro­na­tion, an out­let glacier of the Penny Ice Cap on Baffin Is­land. To get there, me and a team­mate f lew a Cessna 210 from Boul­der, Colorado, all the way to Baffin Is­land. It was chal­leng­ing—lots of crevasses—and we skied over 50 miles. My sled, filled with in­stru­ments and sam­ples, was about 75 pounds.

Why did you start Science in the Wild? When I was stay­ing in vil­lages in Nepal, I’d do most of my work in the com­mu­nal din­ing rooms and I would get a lot of ques­tions. Ev­ery­one wanted to know what I was do­ing, so I started invit­ing them out. Science is such a con­cep­tual thing. This makes it tan­gi­ble. Es­pe­cially when it’s some­thing as im­por­tant— and po­lit­i­cally charged—as cli­mate change. What have the Sval­bard trips been about? The snow­pack there is melt­ing faster and faster, and one of the rea­sons is soot from the wild­fires in North Amer­ica. The par­ti­cles are very small, but they’re dark, so they ab­sorb more of sun’s rays than clean snow and ice. You just don’t think about the global im­pacts of things like wild­fires in Cal­i­for­nia. Or pol­lu­tion. These trips are about the big­ger pic­ture, look­ing at these kinds of far-reach­ing im­pacts.

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