Last week at the Adventure Travel World Summit in Salta, Argentina, I had the pleasure of listening to Sir Robert Swan speak. During one of the best keynotes I’ve heard in a long time, Swan stressed the need for us to do our part in the climate change fight. As he told us, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
Inspired by the adventures of Scott and Shackleton at an early age, Swan knew he was destined to explore Antarctica for himself one day. He ended up being the first person to walk to both poles — he led a three-man team which arrived at the South Pole January 11, 1986, and three years later led an eight-man expedition, reaching the North Pole on May 14, 1989. Back then, he had already witnessed the unseasonable melting of the Arctic Ocean, with open water where there should be miles-thick sea ice. Think about that — over 20 years earlier than what current day polar explorer Eric Larsen has witnessed.
Mentored by Jacques Cousteau throughout his journey, Swan took to heart the undersea explorer’s advice, “If you’re going to inspire people to change their ways, you’re going to need a story.” Hence, the 2041 project was born.
Antarctica is currently protected by the Madrid protocol which bans mining and mineral exploration. But this treaty runs out in 2041, opening up the last unspoiled continent to exploitation. Swan’s aim is to ensure that by the time this date hits, we will have moved on to sustainable energy resources and that Antartica’s natural resources won’t be financially worth exploiting. We better get moving.
A self-proclaimed reluctant polar explorer, Swan will again embark on a journey to the South Pole starting next month– this time with his son Barney. The goal is to be the first-ever expedition to the South Pole powered solely by clean energy technologies. Over the course of their 600-mile, eight-week journey, the duo will demonstrate and showcase cutting edge technologies robust enough to work in one of the harshest environments on earth. If they can work in Antarctica, they can work anywhere.
To encourage and inspire the rest of us to act, Swan teamed up with adventure company The Explorer’s Passage to set sail on an Antarctica expedition with him at the end of his journey. In joining this expedition, you become part of a vast movement of change leaders from across the globe that are championing for a more sustainable future.
In addition to the amazing wildlife experiences that come with all Antarctica cruises, you can immerse yourself in a program of leadership development, up-to-date climate change training, and sustainability education. The Explorer’s Passage is currently taking applications to join this expedition — keep in mind that it doesn’t come cheap but it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
As Swan told us in closing, “the last great exploration on earth is to survive on earth.”