Discovering through Exploration: Iowa man learns about climate change through sailing

Discovering through Exploration: Iowa man learns about climate change through sailing

Hundreds of people are gathering in Okoboji this weekend to get a better understanding on how to approach the subject of climate change with people who deny its exists.

One of those people has seen the effects of climate change first hand.

David Thoreson has always had an adventurous and curious spirit.

"I always had a dream to sail around the world, I actually learned how to sail right here in Lake Okoboji. And I kind of had a boyhood dream to one day travel the world's oceans," said Thoreson.

And it wasn't until getting the opportunity to sail with a farmer from Southern Minnesota that, as of right now, has lead Thoreson to sail a combined 65,000 nautical miles.

Some of his experiences have included sailing the 28,000 miles around the continents of North and South America, travelling across the Atlantic Ocean three times and being the first American sail boat in history to make its way through the Northwest Passage.

"It's been quite a ride for me over the last 30 years or so," he said.

But that historic trip was kind of a bitter sweet moment for David.

When he first tried the Northwest Passage in the early 90's, the ice was so prevalent he couldn't make it through.

"I returned just 13 years later in 2007 and we actually sailed through the Northwest Passage from east to west."

This is one of the many moments in David's life that has driven him to be what he calls himself, a citizen scientist.

"We as explorers or citizen scientists are going out and actually confirming what scientists are predicting," he said.

In his travels David says he has seen climate change first hand, whether it be villagers in northern regions of the world changing their living habits because of less ice, or being able to navigate in places he couldn't have before.

It's why he helped bring the citizen climate lobby conference to here at Lakeside Laboratories in Okoboji, to help train people on how to approach politicians and policymakers with the issue of climate change.

Thoreson continues, "Our earth and our ocean's atmosphere, they don't care if you're democrat or republican, or live in another country. All of our collective actions together of burning fossil fuels are having a dramatic effect."

He says as of right now, there is still something we can do about it but it will ultimately be up to the next generation to put a plan into action.

"We know what the solutions are, but it's going to be up to the next generation that's coming up to study science, become the next scientists and educators and really to me, it's the most exciting time. I wish I could be that young age again," he concluded.

But even though he can't be, this citizen scientist will keep that curious and adventurous spirit alive, to help preserve this planet.

Thoreson has just finished writing a book on his adventures sailing around the world and what he discovered.

To purchase the book:

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