Comedian Marcus Brigstocke has just returned from 10 days in Greenland, where he ate raw seal liver, performed stand up on a glacier and touched icebergs. He reveals why he wants to bring a bit of humour to the doom and gloom of climate change.

By Kate Hodal Comedian Marcus Brigstocke gets a lot of hate mail, but even he's been surprised by what makes people angry.

While he's raised hackles with jibes at Jeremy Clarkson, jokes about Britain's bourgeoisie and vehement attacks on religion, it's his pronouncements on climate change that have really got his enemies steamed up.

But having just returned from his second trip to the Arctic, where he's turned global warming into fodder for his award-winning stand-up, the TV and radio presenter isn't letting anything get in his way when it comes to galvanising public opinion about the serious issues at hand.

After joining a group of musicians, artists, actors, scientists, oceanographers and geologists on a 10-day voyage to the melting caps beyond Greenland, 35-year-old Marcus has returned to the UK determined to change people's minds.

The trip was organised by artist David Buckland, whose Cape Farewell project has been sending out scientists and non-scientists to the Arctic since 2001 in an effort to spread the word on global warming.

This year Marcus joined the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Robyn Hitchcock, Leslie Feist and KT Tunstall, with whom he jammed and beatboxed, performed Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, ate reindeer, seal and walrus, and performed stand-up on a glacier - albeit to no one but the cold wind and ice.

"To be surrounded by my biggest music heroes ever - Jarvis Cocker, Laurie Anderson, Martha Wainwright - and then loads of scientists and artists whose ideas are an absolute feast, was just incredible," says Marcus, still incredulous about his experience.

But this voyage was a welcome departure from the same journey he took in 2007 - "a three week carnival of vomit", as he describes it - when his boat got lost off the coast of Greenland and the Farewell crew feared they might never see home again.

Now writing a play about the 1,600-mile journey during which he "spent the whole trip throwing up and crying and thinking I was going to die", Marcus promises it's not so much about climate change as "a group of environmentalists, who, when the fuel to keep themselves warm starts to run out, realise - like all of us - that they're dependent on it to survive".

Marcus isn't one of those holier-than-thou greenies; in fact, he hates them as much as the next man. Instead, he's an eco-friendly pragmatist, one who willingly flies to Canada to visit family but has given up red meat to help cut his carbon footprint.

"This isn't about eco points," he explains from his home in south London.

"It's about changing points of view. I'm not trying to get mankind back into a pre-Industrial Revolution lifestyle. The invention of the airplane and the car are absolutely fantastic - they just need to be more efficient - as do we in thinking about all this stuff."

And voyaging to the Arctic - carbon footprints aside - has helped changed his own points of view. Witnessing the sheer beauty of the North Pole ("Everything in the Arctic is pretty monochrome - the land in Greenland is black volcanic rock, or covered in pure white snow - so the pinks in sunsets and the blues in glaciers are just mindblowing"), along with speaking with Inuit fishermen and hunters who are living through climate change, has helped strengthen his desire to change his own behaviour.

A self-confessed shopaholic, Marcus has "greened-up" the house he shares with his wife Sophie and their two children, whom he insists cycling to school. The family also holiday in a solar-powered motorhome and grow as much of their own fruit and veg as possible.

And as much as he enjoyed travelling to the Arctic, Marcus is adamant there are some things he won't miss.

"Inuits get their vitamin C from raw seal liver - they like to hunt a seal, pull it out of the water, and eat the liver while it's still warm and pulsating," he says, shuddering.

"And having had a mouthful of cold raw seal liver I wouldn't touch it again - it's like blood squared, in a gelatinous, nasty, sort of fishy undertone kind of way. It's absolutely revolting - as is dried whale meat."

When they weren't bonding over the disgusting cuisine on board the Russian research vessel, Marcus and co spent their nights gazing at the Northern Lights and jamming - with one notable evening spent trying to convince "blind drunk Greenlanders that the show in front of them - Jarvis playing old Pulp songs with Martha [Wainwright] and Leslie [Feist] doing backing vocals - was musical history".

There was also performance art, with one of the artists on board releasing a 6kg cylinder of CO2 over an ice-capped island, "an amazing piece of artistic provocation", Marcus says.

"The whole lot of us witness to this said, 'Jesus Christ, what are you doing?', all horrified, and she just said, 'Oh don't worry, I've offset this, so I can do what I want with it'. It really made us think."

For a comedian, the Radio 4 stalwart is more serious about climate change than one would expect - but this is a trick he likes to deploy depending on his mood, he says.

"Sometimes I can stand in front of crowds yelling and screaming and saying, 'Look f***ers, we have to sort this out', and get laughs by being brutal and blunt," he explains, "and other times I can talk about the trip and smuggle science past them by making them laugh."

While getting the public interested in climate change might seem like one of the hardest - if not most boring - jobs on the planet, Marcus is convinced that we're a lot closer to getting something done about it.

"It has become uncool - and illegal - in my lifetime to light up in a pub or restaurant, whereas my parents used to do it all the time," he explains.

"And now it's the same with driving a 4x4 - if you see someone driving a Humvee, you'll also see people up and down the road flipping him the finger."

Having been on two Arctic voyages, he's no stranger to the science either - with his warnings over non-activity scary enough to jump-start most of us into action.

"The cold dense water in the Arctic is what draws warm water across the North Atlantic, and which keeps Europe temperate," he explains.

"So if that disappears due to sea cap melt, the Gulf Stream and other currents will either stop or reroute themselves - and if they do, Northern Europe could go under a few feet of ice within our lifetime."

This man doesn't need more hate mail telling him to abandon climate change - he needs a larger forum and bigger audiences to get us all rethinking our priorities in a world changing faster than we can blink.

:: Attention editors: Please note language in pars 19 and 21.

:: Read Marcus' Artic blog and find out more about Cape Farewell by logging onto Undated Handout Photo of Marcus Brigstocke performing stand-up comedy on a glacier. See PA Feature GREEN Brigstocke. PA Photo/Nathan Gallagher.

Undated Handout Photo of showing the volume of one tonne of CO2. See PA Feature GREEN Brigstocke. PA Photo/Nathan Gallagher.

Undated Handout Photo of KT Tunstall on a Cape Farewell expedition. See PA Feature GREEN Brigstocke. PA Photo/Nathan Gallagher.

Undated Handout Photo of icebergs seen on a Cape Farewell expedition. See PA Feature GREEN Brigstocke. PA Photo/Nathan Gallagher.

Undated Handout Photo of icebergs seen on a Cape Farewell expedition. See PA Feature GREEN Brigstocke. PA Photo/Nathan Gallagher.

01/09/2007 PA File Photo of Jarvis Cocker performing on stage at the Electric Picnic on Stradbally Estate, County Laois in Ireland. See PA Feature GREEN Brigstocke. Picture credit should read: Kenneth O Halloran/PA Photos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GREEN Brigstocke.