The "Blessed North" conference was held at the Moscow headquarters of the RGS on January 27th and 28th within the XXVIII International Christmas Educational Readings. The conference has been held for several years, and unites all who care about the conservation of the natural and cultural environment of the Arctic region of the Russian Federation: scientists of various specialties, local historians, travelers, military, artists, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The conference was organized by the ruling bishop of the northernmost diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, Bishop Iakov of Naryan-Mar and Mezensky. Well-known public and government figures of Russia took part in the conference as supervisors: First Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society, President of the Association of Polar Explorers, Artur Chilingarov; President of the Russian Hydrometeorological Society (RHS), Honorary President of the World Meteorological Organization, Alexander Bedritsky; Honorary Polar Explorer, head of the Arctic Marine Expedition (AME), Pyotr Boyarsky; and Anatoly Shevchenko, head of the Russian Navy's expert group, and vice admiral.
The conference participants discussed the urgent problems of the Russian North from the point of view of spiritual vision, the tasks of the mission of Russian Orthodoxy, the role of the Arctic region in the life of Russia, as well as environmental problems and conditions for the conservation of nature of high latitudes. The first day of the conference was devoted to research and modern economic activity in the Arctic; the second day - to the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica.
From the greeting of Artur Chilingarov to the conference participants:
"The conference is dedicated to the most important event in our history - the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by the outstanding Russian sailors Bellingshausen and Lazarev. It was a real feat for the glory of the Fatherland. Russian Antarctica is as blessed a land as the Arctic. Our country has done a lot to explore this distant continent, the growing significance of which for the world civilization can hardly be overestimated. And one can only welcome the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church is actively participating in events dedicated to this important occasion. High Orthodox spirituality gives our polar explorers, working in the Arctic, additional strength and incentives in their selfless and much-needed work for our country."
Presentations at the conference, in particular, were made by the representatives of the RHS. The reports reflected the current state of scientific research in the Arctic, the problems of climate change and the impact of global processes on the environment, the history of meteorological observations in the Arctic. The report "Meteorologists on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago" was presented by the honorary polar explorer, honored meteorologist of the Russian Federation, reserve colonel, Sergei Molodnyakov. The chairman of the Arkhangelsk regional branch of the Russian Geographical Society, a member of the RHS, honorary polar explorer, Leonid Vasiliev, made a report "Arctic - Weather Kitchen".
“Arctic air masses have the strongest effect on climate and weather in the northern regions of Russia; they penetrate into the interior,” Leonid Vasiliev said. “In the second half of the 20th century, temperature growth was observed throughout the globe, but the average temperature in the Arctic was increasing at a rate that was almost double the global average. The global warming heats up the planet unevenly: the temperature rises most rapidly in the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere and in the Arctic. This phenomenon is called the "Arctic amplification. "
The chairman of the Arkhangelsk regional branch of the Russian Geographical Society emphasized that, according to the statistical analysis of the observations, the contribution of greenhouse gases to climate warming in the second half of the 20th century was about 25%.
Honored Test Pilot of Russia, Konstantin Malinin, spoke about the need to use testbed aircrafts in programs preventing climate disasters in the regions of the North. “Making a new plane suitable for the north is an ordeal. Now it is necessary to tackle the state of the fleet of existing aircrafts, determine compliance with the standards and further extend their life,” he said.
Rector of the Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov, Elena Kudryashova, spoke about the "Arctic Floating University" - an innovative integrated scientific and educational expedition, held with the support of the Russian Geographical Society. “Over the years, 12 expeditions have been organized, in which more than 600 people took part. They are representatives of leading Russian universities and institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences, industry institutes,” said Elena Kudryashova. The project participants are engaged in the study of the climate of the Arctic, studying the ecology of the Arctic seas and territories, the biodiversity of the Arctic. Among the scientific results of the expedition are complete aerial surveys of mammals and anseriformes on Vaygach Island, the discovery of a colony of ancient marine corals on the territory of Novaya Zemlya, the study of the circulation of Atlantic water masses in the north-eastern region of the Barents Sea, which allows predicting the ice situation in the Franz Josef Land region, and much more.
Separate reports were devoted to art and culture. Thus, Nikolai Petrov-Spiridonov, assistant professor at the department of Temple Architecture at the Moscow Institute of Architecture, spoke about the wooden-temple architecture of the Russian North; and Raisa Kolosova-Neyaglova, director general of Paulsen Publishing House, talked about the joint project of the publishing house and the Russian Geographical Society – “Bellingshausen Atlas”, released in honor of the anniversary of the opening of the sixth continent .
International Christmas Educational Readings is a public church forum in the field of education, culture, social service, and spiritual and moral education. Readings have been held in Moscow since 1993 under the honorary chairmanship of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; and they gather more than five thousand participants from all dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church. Among the tasks of the readings are the development of Orthodox education, spiritual and moral education of society, understanding of the problems of science and culture from the perspective of the Orthodox worldview, expanding cooperation between the church and the state in the field of education.