Can Frozen 2 save the Norwegian Arctic?
Little girls aren’t the only ones getting excited about a Frozen sequel. If the US envoy to the Arctic gets his way, Disney will use the next instalment of its hugely popular cartoon to raise awareness of climate change.
“We’re continuing discussions with Disney. I’m hopeful we’re going to get there.” Admiral Robert Papp told an audience at the Brookings Institute in Washington on Thursday.
“It’s a very good company, and they put out a good product, and I would like to have them help us raise awareness.”
Frozen, the highest grossing animated film in history, is set in a stunning Arctic landscape inspired by Norway.
But as temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as in the rest of the planet, the glaciers and snowy peaks on which the film is based are starting to melt.
Norway’s largest icecap Austfonna has been melting at an alarming rate over the last two years, losing one-sixth of its original thickness.
Even more worrying is the fact that the glacier is descending into the sea at a rate of several kilometres a year.
Papp wants to see character such as Princess Elsa, her sister Anna, Sven the reindeer, and Olaf, a talking snowman, raise awareness for the cause.
“I said you’ve taught an entire generation about the Arctic,” Papp claims to have told a Disney executive.
“Unfortunately the Arctic that you’ve taught them about is a fantasy kingdom in Norway where everything is nice. What we really need to do is educate the American youth about the plight of the polar bear, about the thawing tundra, about Alaskan villages that run the risk of falling into the sea because of the lack of sea ice protecting their shores.”
According to Papp, the Disney executive said he didn’t feel the company was in the business of real life.
“Admiral you might not understand,” Papp reported him as saying. “Here at Disney, it’s in our culture to tell stories that project optimism and have happy endings."
Whether or not Elsa will use her powers over the snow and the ice to freeze the melting icecaps of Norway, the film will no doubt boost tourism to Norway, with tourists clamouring to see fjords, mountains and villages that inspired the filmmakers.
“In retrospect, we have seen an amazing development of the US market,” Per-Arne Tuftin, tourism director at Innovation Norway told NRK. “Norway has seen an increase of 31 percent when it comes to North American hotel guests.”
The most recent Frozen spin-off will be the Disney Cruise Line which will set sail for Iceland and the fjords of Norway next summer, taking in the breath-taking Nordic landscapes in the company of the fictional Frozen sisters Elsa and Anna.