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Veteran Explorer’s Antarctic Trek Disrupted, Highlighting Need for Urgent Action on Climate Change


Jan. 21, 2018, 12:01 AM

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Robert Swan spent five years planning the South Pole Energy Challenge Expedition. Using only renewable energy, a team would trek 600 miles to the Geographic South Pole to demonstrate that if it’s possible in one of the most unforgiving places on Earth, then renewable energy holds potential anywhere in the world.

Swan recounts the expedition to the Global GoalsCast (“Journey Across Antarctica: the Swans and Climate Change”), a new podcast that profiles bold individuals working toward achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Swan and his son and fellow explorer, Barney, will speak January 25 at the World Economic Forum.

Robert, 61, the first man to walk to both the North and South Poles, couldn’t keep pace. He could ski an impressive 10nm each day, but not the 12 to 14nm required to reach the Pole and test the technology before the Antarctic winter.

The team encountered an unusual “pie crust-like” ice that was more difficult to traverse.

“The surfaces we travelled across were surfaces none of us have ever experienced before. Not just me, five of the top polar travelers in the world who are making journeys in Antarctica have commented on the fact that the surfaces this year in Antarctica are different than they’ve ever been before…We believe – all of us – it is a sign that we are changing even in the coldest parts of Antarctica,” Robert said.

Barney, 23, completed the challenge. Robert believes Barney’s courage “will inspire other young people to act and say, ‘My God, I’m going to make an effort myself.’

“Our effort, yes, is extreme, but gives us a story that underlines and hopefully inspires people to make change because we cannot carry on as we are. The way that we are living is not sustainable. If we can survive [in Antarctica] on renewable energy than we can do that anywhere on the planet – and that is the message,” Robert said.


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