Photographer Greta Rybus wanted to see what life north of the north looked like.
The Norwegian city of Hammerfest calls itself the northernmost town in the world, but seeded beyond it are a handful of other small communities. One of these is Akkarfjord, on the island of Srya.
Its a place few people know about that even other Norwegians rarely visit.
Only about 80 people live there, their houses huddled around the Akkarfjord harbor.
Theres also a local school, post office, and grocery store. Plus a tavern, tucked away and only opened on special occasions and birthdays.
The harbor is both the towns anchor and its connection to the outside world.
If youre not working on a barge, youre probably at the local fish mill, which sits on the east side of the harbor and exportations its catch to the rest of the world.
As you might guess, the winter cold can attain socializing a bit of a challenge.
People arent too keen on stopping in the middle of the street for a chat, and if its not the cold, its the wind. Rybus says that the wind bowled her over more than once.
“I physically get blown over a few days, like a cartoon character, feet flying above my head, ” she says.
But if its cold on the coast, its even colder inland where reindeer herders watch their animals.
The herders are largely Sami, an ethnic group indigenous to the region. They still follow many of their traditional practises, like reindeer herding, although mixed with modern practicalities. Snowmobiles make it much easier to keep up with the herd.
The other dwellers of this remote land? Oil rigs.
The rest of the world has caught up to Akkarfjord. Simply 50 kilometers offshore are massive oil rig, soaking up petroleum from the Barents Sea floor.
Norway is actually one of the great oil and gas nations of the world. Most of that gain has been pumped back into the nation itself, money health care, public service projects, and education including the Akkarfjord school.
Though oils brought a lot of wealth to Norway, unrestricted worldwide utilize of fossil fuel has furthermore caused our global climate to change.
Snow used to arrive in Akkarfjord in the late fall, rising as high as a second story window. Nowadays, town residents say they might not see any until January. The weather is get unpredictable.
Fishers like Knut Olsen told Rybus that the ocean around Akkarfjord is also warmer than it used to be, which could affect the harbor. On land, hunting has get harder.
Inland, changes to the freeze-thaw cycle have affected the reindeer’s they are able to fodder during the winter. Buying extra feed or food pellets has become more and more common.
Life beyond the northernmost city is stark, beautiful, and locked in a remarkably complicated relationship with the outside world.
Fossil gasolines, and the wealth that comes with them, have improved the quality of life in Akkarfjord and the rest of Norway but climate change is also affecting the animals, plants, and seasons they, and the rest of us, still depend on.
The story of climate change is not just an environmental tale. Its a tale about people. Both those of us who live beyond the ends of the Earth and those much closer to home.
If you want to see the rest of Rybus amazing paintings and read more interviews about life in Akkarfjord, check out her website .
Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com