London, England. Tomorrow (Friday, 13 March 2009), I’m setting off for the Antarctic Peninsula with a group of like-minded people, all of whom are deeply concerned about climate change and the effect it is having on this beautiful part of our planet. We fly to Ushuaia, the most southerly town in the world and, from there, we travel by ship across some of the roughest seas in the world to our destination.
The trip is run by 2041, Robert Swan’s campaign to save Antarctica. Robert is the only man to have walked to both North and South Poles (and tragically, if global warming continues, may be the only man ever to do so, as the ice at the North Pole rapidly disappears). 2041 is the year the Antarctic Treaty expires, leaving it vulnerable to being carved up for resources. Therefore, his campaign is partly aimed at getting the Treaty extended. However, unless climate change is controlled, by 2041 much of what we think of as Antarctica will be gone forever, so Robert is also a fantastic climate campaigner. He has set up an e-base on the continent, which is 100% renewably-powered (solar in the summer, wind all year round).
The expedition is for people from around the world to experience the inspiration and beauty of Antarctica, but also allows them to see the damage climate change has already caused – retreating glaciers, collapsing ice shelves and so on. I’m going because it’s a great opportunity to meet other people determined to control climate change, and to see the e-base – a wonderful symbol of the potential of renewable energy. And I feel that the trip justifies the flight (I gave up flying for holidays back in 2001 to reduce my carbon footprint)! I also hope to learn much more about both the threat of climate change and the potential ways to mitigate its adverse effects, and to draw inspiration from Robert, other team members and the fact of being in a place that I’ve read so much about but never been to.
And also seeing a few penguins!
I will try to keep you informed of what I am doing, who I am meeting and what thoughts my experiences have provoked. I will be doing this on a daily basis and I hope that you will stay with me for the whole trip. If you enjoy my blog or generally just want to comment, please do so. You can do this by going to Contact Us. When I get back, I will be working overtime with my colleague, Jon Trevelyan, to build up this website as a source of information and debate on climate change and the positive things we can do to mitigate its adverse effects.