North

Arctic magazine releases swimsuit edition

The northern Canadian magazine Up Here has released its first swimsuit edition in hopes of fostering discussions about climate change in the Arctic.

Up Here issue aims to 'grab people' and promote climate change talk: editor

The northern Canadian magazine Up Here has released its first swimsuit edition in hopes of fostering discussions about climate change in the Arctic.

The latest edition of the magazine, which came out this week, features 10 swimsuit-clad women posing in threatened northern landscapes, from melting icescapes to burnt-out forests.

The issue's purpose is to show how global warming is affecting the environment and people north of 60, editor Aaron Spitzer told CBC News.

"We are always, as communicators, striving to come up with some new way to grab people," Spitzer said Tuesday.

Based in Yellowknife, Up Here has highlighted northern culture, lifestyle, arts and travel for 26 years. It was named magazine of the year at the National Magazine Awards in June.

Spitzer said he hopes people will look beyond the models and read all the articles in this month's issue.

The swimsuit photo feature includes passages from northerners and experts, expressing their concerns about climate change's effects in the North.

Sex sells?

But Shannon Ripley of Ecology North, a Yellowknife-based environmental group, questioned whether a magazine swimsuit edition is the best way to spark the Arctic climate change debate.

"It seems to me that it would also fit to have men — scantily clad men, or men in shorts and T-shirts or in less clothing — as well," Ripley said.

"Perhaps the reason I mention that is the whole issue of gender and using a woman's body to perhaps sell magazines or to draw attention to an issue."

Spitzer said Up Here wanted to make reference to Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit edition, which has been popular around the world for decades.

"We liked the idea of … taking this sort of stereotypical 'swimsuit issue' concept that Sports Illustrated has made sort of legendary, and putting a total Arctic twist on it. And they don't put guys in their swimsuit issues," he said.

Northern model Charlotte Overvold said she believes the photographs were tastefully shot. As well, she said she wanted to take part, given the issue being discussed.

"For me personally, animals, and the hunting and stuff like that, it's, like, greatly affected. So I felt very strong in being a part of this," she said.

Spitzer said while the latest issue may shock some people, he hopes it will get everyone talking about the bigger issue of climate change.