Norway has greeted expedition “Baltoscandia 2016” participants with rainy weather and fantastic landscapes. This gives meaning to one of the trek across the world “Mission Lithuania 100” goals – to capture nature, which is changing rapidly due to global warming, and to draw more attention to environmental issues. It is with this objective in mind that the German producer Michael Mattig-Gerlach joined the expedition.
Capturing a melting glacier
Svartisen Glacier, visited by the expedition’s filming crew, is the lowest in continental – just 20 m above sea level – and the second biggest in continental Norway. “I was surprised by the wonderful and simultaneously intimidating illustration of global warming that are the fresh water giants – glaciers. The guide showed us areas were Svartisen used to be a couple of years ago, a year ago, and, finally, only a couple of weeks ago. It is incredible how evident the changes over such a short period are.” said expedition participant Linas Samaška.
The problems are global, so they’re Lithuanians’ as well
Expedition leader Gintautas Babravičius calls for more concern about the changing climate: “Living in a small country we often forget ourselves. We imagine that only a chosen few have the tools and the ability to make decisions and change the world. In reality, global problems concern us all. It can be difficult to realize while slopping through the snow in Lithuania. The weathers are getting difficult to predict, there is a difference in their character, we fail to grasp that this might concern substantive changes in nature – changes of currents, prevailing winds etc. Our main goal in making documentaries is to invite interest, curiosity and responsibility for our actions and their consequences.”
The German producer has been cooperating with Lithuanians for over 20 years
“We joke that we’re in several places at the same time: the Lithuanian Geographic Society is taking one route, the Wanderers Club – another, and Michael – a third. My acquaintance with Michael Mattig-Gerlach deserves a book on its own; his input into Lithuanian culture is very significant. Interesting fact – if not for him, we wouldn’t have the best known commercial radio stations. However, we mostly cooperate in making travel documentaries. In the end we will use our footages in joint films.” says Gintauta Babravičius. These two old friends and colleagues first travelled together in 1992, to Kamchatka, and have been helping each other in further projects ever since. Currently Michael is making a documentary for the German television Deutsche Welle.
About the project
“Baltoscandia 2016” is the first expedition of a 3 year extreme trek across the world in off-road vehicles – “Mission Lithuania 100”. The trek will be divided into stages, which will be captured in documentaries: “Grand Duchy of Lithuania”, “Silk Road”, “Beringia” and others.
The trek crew will be crossing the Bering Strait by attaching pontoons to the vehicles. So far 4 expeditions have successfully made it to the strait in winter, one has crossed the Bering Strait, but none have succeeded in crossing Alaska and reaching civilization in summer time. “This stage involves 4500 km of complete off-road. This is the most complicated and also the most interesting part of the coming trek. If we succeed in reaching this goal, we will be the first ones” said trek leader Gintautas Babravičius.
Photos by Ignas Veršinskas