The Weekend Leader - Pole position

Next, the Polar explorer will explore the green route to Antarctica

Richa Sharma   |   New Delhi


Vol 4 | Issue 33

Robert Swan, the first person to have walked to the North and South poles, is on a Green Mission this time.

The 57-year-old polar explorer is preparing for an Antarctic expedition in 2015 where he will survive solely on renewable energy during the two-month-long trip.

Polar explorer Robert Swan at E-Base in Pench, Madhya Pradesh (Photo: IANS)

Swan, who first took the Antarctic journey in 1986, wants to prove that if someone can survive on renewable energy in extreme climatic conditions in the polar region, then it can be replicated anywhere else in the world.

"It will be the first expedition to the South Pole on renewable energy. The whole purpose of undertaking this expedition is to tell the world to switch to environment-friendly sources of energy," Swan said in an interview.
He is in India as part of the Great Himalayan Expedition to open the 'Third Pole E base' at Ladakh as part of his '2041 Campaign'.

"Every year when I go to Antarctic, I find ice of the size of Delhi has broken and is drifting due to the rising temperature ... this shouldn't happen," said Swan, who has cleaned an entire island in the South Pole in the last eight years.

Swan says his team is working with experts in the US to devise technology for his green expedition.

"We will be carrying solar panels, a wind turbine and batteries to cook, melt drinking water, run GPS systems, headlamps, charge batteries of electrical devices and instruments. It is a tough task but we are up for it," said the Englishman, who has been appointed the UN Goodwill Ambassador for Youth.

All expeditions to the poles till now use fossil fuels like gas and coal to survive in temperature as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius.

Speaking about the '2041 Campaign', Swam said: "It is an effort to raise awareness about the date (2041) when world leaders will start reviewing the moratorium on drilling and mining for rich minerals in the South Pole."

"As part of the campaign I have been involving youngsters across the world and inspiring them to take sustainable and environment friendly tasks. These young people will become the future leaders who will take forward my task of saving the planet," said Swan.

Swan has opened third E-Base station at Ladakh after the Antarctic and Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh.

The E-Base is a sustainable green building that serves as a model for educational, environmental and energy issues.

"Its purpose is to inspire the world to tackle the issue of climate change. It shows that if we can survive using renewable energy at the remotest locations of earth, then we can all take such measures," said Swan.

In India, he has been working with The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) and food processing and packaging solutions company Tetra Pack on two projects SEARCH and LEADearthSHIP.

Project SEARCH is to create awareness among school students, teachers and the school community at large about waste and the habit of refusing, reducing, reusing and recycling.

LEADearthSHIP is a youth programme on leadership and business sustainability. - IANS

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