Father and Son Risk their Lives Crossing Antarctica to Save the Planet.

CBS Article on Robert and Barney Swan.  CLICK THIS LINK FOR THE VIDEO.

Father and son risk their lives crossing Antarctica to save the planetLast Updated Jun 22, 2018 12:01 AM EDT

Editor’s note: Special thanks to our CBS News Digital partners Global Goalscast, a podcast produced by UNICEF special adviser Claudia Romo Edelman and Hub Culture executive editor Edie Lush featuring inspiring stories about people advancing a more sustainable future. Each episode focuses on a separate issue as it relates to current events and Sustainable Development Goals, such as ending poverty, combating climate change, and ensuring equality. Listen here: https://www.cbsnews.com/goalscast/

Perhaps the only thing more torturous than trekking 600 miles to the South Pole, through some of the most inhospitable conditions nature has to offer, is watching your son do the same. And that’s precisely what explorer Robert Swan experienced this winter, when he and his son, Barney, undertook a record-setting journey to the South Pole, becoming the first explorers ever to do so surviving solely off of renewable energy.

“At the age of 61, it’s not really something that people should do,” Robert Swan told the GlobalGoalscast of his decision to undertake the grueling journey across Antarctica. It was his second trek to the pole, 32 years after his first. “But Barney convinced me that together as father and son, together as the millennial generation and the older generation, we need to join together because this can’t be a bunch of young people thinking one thing and a bunch of old people thinking another. We’ve got to join together because we are in a survival situation on planet Earth.”

Their goal was to show that if they could manage such an incredible feat while counterbalancing their emissions, then the rest of us should be able to make small climate-conscious adjustments in our own lives, as well.


Robert and Barney Swan kneel next to their sled, which has been covered with solar panels in order to provide a renewable energy source for melting ice into hot water.


This required the pioneering of new equipment that would use renewable energy to melt snow and ice into hot water on the move in the Antarctic. It also required Robert Swan, who 32 years ago became the first man to walk to both poles, to come out of retirement in a very big way.

“Dad is 61. He’s not 40. He’s not 50,” Barney told Claudia Romo Edelman and Edie Lush of the GlobalGoalscast upon his return from the Antarctic. “And once we were out there for three weeks, even two weeks, I really began to see a degree of suffering that I’ve never seen in my father before. He is from a generation that is built of steel, and he himself is built of concrete, and I saw him go to places that I wouldn’t wish people to go to.”

Their 600-mile trek was projected to take 60 days, based on the assumption that the father and son could log an average of 10 miles a day. However, after a few weeks, they fell behind those projections and had to make up time to ultimately reach their goal. At this new, faster pace, Robert struggled to keep up. And while the others got the daily opportunity to recover at camp before their next excursion deeper into the Antarctic, the elder Swan found himself with less and less recovery time — a reality which began taking a toll on his body.


Robert Swan peers out of his tent at the brutal negative-40-degree conditions outside.


“His legs, his inner thigh, everywhere in between, it was like repellant,” Barney recalled. “We’re talking like bits of flesh falling off him. He was decaying. And to think that all it takes is that one degree too far and you could die; I was literally watching my father on the slow road to death.”

Robert soon realized that in order for the expedition to succeed he would have to bow out. So he made arrangements for a helicopter to transport him back to base camp, and he made the excruciating decision to leave Barney behind.

“It was the worst moment of my life for the simple reason that I knew what lay ahead,” Robert recalled through tears in an interview at Davos. “I felt a failure as an expedition leader. I felt a failure for my son. I felt absolutely appalling, but I knew that this expedition wasn’t about Robert Swan. This expedition was about inspiring people on energy use. It was about doing the right thing and the right thing for me to do was to put myself second and the expedition first. I just had to, for once in my life, realize my limitations. And I went back to the base camp and had the worst week of my life, dealing with the word failure. And I had to listen to what was happening with my son’s feet. His toes were turning black… And I was sitting there thinking, ‘I should be there.'”


A framed photo in the Swan home shows Barney in Robert’s arms as a young child.


Barney, however, didn’t see his father’s decision as a failure. On the contrary, the 24-year-old, whose toe was turning black due to the brutal negative-40-degree temperatures and repeated banging on his boots, was overcome with pride for his dad.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of my dad,” an emotional Barney says in the upcoming CBSN Originals documentary, “Expedition Antarctica.” “It takes courage to tell your team you don’t have it in you, and that’s what he did today.”

Barney, more determined than ever, continued toward the south geographic pole. And when he was 60 miles from the goal, Robert choppered back in to join him, so that together, they could complete what they started.

“It was a moment where I let go of so many things in life because he’d done it,” Robert recalled, looking lovingly at his son. “Those stupid words like ‘failure’ and everything else disappeared because there he was in my arms.”


The moment that Robert Swan reunited with his son, Barney, near the South Pole is seen in the CBSN Originals documentary, “Expedition Antarctica.”


His son was, of course, a little worse for the wear. But he had made it.

“I put my arms around him and it just seemed to keep going on forever because he’d become so thin and that was hard, but he was there. And I was back in a silly way to look after him. And I was so proud because we were going to make it. And everything that we were doing — the renewable energy, the biofuels — everything was working.”

Now back home, father and son view the moment of that reunion not as the end of a story, but the beginning of a crucial environmental journey.

“Thirty-two years ago, we’d staggered in. I had lost 69 pounds in 70 days and was in pretty bad shape. Thirty-two years on, we arrived together to start something because, as we all know, you need a story to get people’s attention,” Robert explained on the GlobalGoalscast. “We want it simply to mean that if we’ve made the effort to do what we’ve done, then other people could make some small efforts themselves.”


CBS News- Father and Son Pair Trek Antarctica to Highlight Climate Change

Father-and-son pair trek Antarctica to highlight climate change

Robert and Barney Swan journey to Antarctica to highlight the impacts of climate change

CBS News

Melting ice on Antarctica is impacting sea levels all across the globe. That’s why a father-and-son explorer team, Robert and Barney Swan, set out on an expedition to cross the continent on foot. The goal for this marathon trek was to highlight the importance of combating climate change.

Their story can be heard in the “Green Miniseries Part I: The Promise.” It’s part of the Global GoalsCast, a podcast created to inspire listeners to make the world a better, and more sustainable place.

“The Promise” also takes a look at Robert Swan’s career. He’s the first person to walk both the North and South Pole. As a polar explorer, he’s been on a mission for decades to help preserve Antarctica’s pristine environment. During “The Promise,” Swan also discusses Robert Falcon Scott, another explorer who attempted a journey to the South Pole in the early 20th century.

“The draw was the place itself, the tragedy, the drama, the story, the diaries of Scott,” Swan said. “There is no edge, there are no lies because it wants you dead.”

Is it possible to change the world? Can we still make the planet a better place for us all to live? UN special adviser Claudia Romo Edelman and Hub Culture executive editor Edie Lush — hosts of the Global Goalscast — believe the answer is a resounding ‘yes,’ and that everyone can play a part. Subscribe to the podcast here.

South China Morning Post Article on Rob and Barney reaching the Pole.

‘The most special moment of my life’ – first man to walk to both poles hands globe to next generation

Robert Swan rejoins 23-year-old Barney at climax of pioneering Antarctic expedition fuelled entirely by renewable energy

By Mark Agnew

What could be more special than becoming the first person to walk to both the North and the South Pole? For Robert Swan, it was arriving at the South Pole almost 30 years after his pioneering expedition but this time with his son, Barney.

The two men set out to be the first people to reach the pole using only renewable energy for cooking, eating and survival.

“In one sense it is quite easy to walk to the poles because you can trust the systems to get you there,” Robert said of the trip that saw temperatures reach minus 40 degrees Celsius.

“The lightest system is the traditional system to cook, eat and survive [which burns fuel].”

But with this trip, the sledges they dragged were heavier and untested to accommodate some of the world’s most advanced technologies, including advanced biofuels provided by Shell and a state-of-the-art solar-powered ice melter from Nasa.

WATCH: The Journey to the South Pole

Ultimately, the 950-kilometre (590-mile) journey proved too much for Robert and he had to leave his son at the halfway point.

“After 25 days, I realised at my age [62] I couldn’t average more than 10 miles [16km] a day but we needed 12,” he said.

Undeterred, 23-year-old Barney went on, happy in the knowledge of seeing his father in the environment that had defined his legacy.

Robert and Barney Swan drag heavier sledges than traditional kit to accommodate the solar panels and renewable energy equipment.

“By day 45 it was really cold, about minus 40 C, and my boots were coming apart,” Barney said. “It got warmer, to about minus 20C, which I was really grateful for, otherwise I would have lost my toe.”

While Barney was worrying about coming back with his extremities intact, his father was undergoing fitness tests and training programmes to convince the doctors to allow him to return and join his son.

Medical staff initially told him he could not go back.

“Eventually, it was clear why I was the first person to walk to both poles,” Robert said. “When you have done what I have done you don’t have to prove anything, but it was important I was with Barney.”

Robert Swan was the first person to walk to both the South and the North Pole in the 1980s.

And so, father and son were reunited for the final 95km (59 miles) of the expedition.

“As I stood at the pole, I handed Barney a small globe,” Robert said. “I got you this far, now it’s yours to take forward.”

The South Pole is marked by a metal sphere that is so clear you can see your reflection.

Barney saw his weathered face and said: “Looking into the sphere and seeing yourself after 60 days, it was a moment to see what I’d gone through. We are proud to be the first net positive mission [in terms of carbon emissions].”

Arriving at the pole is the most special moment of Robert’s life, and for Barney, seeing himself in the sphere is a chance to reflect on what he has been through.

Now they are trying to use their epic journey as a blueprint for others to copy. They have been touring events and being met with open ears from companies looking to incorporate their technology and reduce emissions.

Robert said it was a privilege to be able to visit places like the Antarctic, and we are all privileged to be able to experience the outdoors even in places like Hong Kong with it’s many National Parks. He warned if we don’t preserve them, they will disappear.

Barney is now focused on spreading the message: “It was the end of one journey and the beginning of another.”

Davos- Celebs and Politicians Shine Off-Stage at Davos 2018


Celebs and politicians shine off-stage at Davos 2018

Global leaders take centre-stage at the World Economic Forum but it’s what goes on off-stage that counts

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting was in Davos, Switzerland. AFP
The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting was in Davos, Switzerland. AFP

Donald Trump dominated the last two days of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, last week, his celebrity wattage fascinating other world leaders and top executives alike, as he characteristically played to the crowd in front of him with an investor-friendly message that the United States was open for business.

While politicians traditionally steal the limelight in Davos – on the first day it was India’s Narendra Modi and Canada’s Justin Trudeau causing a stir – and celebrities also add a touch of stardust, with actors Cate Blanchett and Shah Rukh Khan joined by musician Elton John at the opening gala, what is actually likely to influence news and policy for the remainder of the year occurs off-stage.

It is in booths around the meeting rooms, in storefronts on the main Promenade, up at the Hotel Schatzalp on the “Magic Mountain”, in the nearby high school and elsewhere throughout Davos that issues and topics ranging from the environment to the refugee crisis, to the power of social gastronomy, are put front and centre.

Jostling for a place high on the agenda, groups, individuals and organisations set up on the sidelines of the forum, knowing that the top executives, billionaires and world leaders gathered in Davos are at their most receptive thanks to the relaxed atmosphere that the elite nature of the annual meeting creates.

This is what motivated polar explorers Robert Swan and his son Barney to journey to the Swiss town shortly after the conclusion of a 600-mile expedition on foot to the South Pole, powered solely by renewable energy, to highlight the dangers of climate change to this special audience.

On the terrace of the mountain-top hotel, surrounded by snowy peaks, they cannot hide their intense emotion as they recount their recent pioneering and harrowing experience in the Antarctic. By sharing, they hope to inspire people to make the necessary changes to mitigate the impact of climate change. By using only solar power and biofuels to complete the trek in what is the most inhospitable place on the planet, they hoped to prove that everyone can make the switch.

Robert was the first man to walk to both poles in the 1980s and on this latest expedition he could clearly see the impact of climate change. The edges of Antarctica are disintegrating faster than even most pessimistic predictions, he says.

“The surface of Antarctica has changed. Entirely different to 32 years ago. A pie crust surface, solid at first but skis would go through [it]. We had to go slower [than planned],” he says during a discussion hosted by the Global GoalsCast podcast – which profiles individuals working toward achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 – and US broadcaster CBS.

This is just one of many events held during the week of the forum. The Crossroads Foundation’s A Day in the Life of a Refugee live experience at the Hilton hotel next to the Congress Centre gets CEOs down on their hands and knees, giving them an hour-long taste of what it is like for those trying to find a better life in Europe.

Manchester United star Juan Mata was in Davos for a day to promote his Common Goal initiative that calls on football stars to join him in pledging 1 per cent of their salaries to support efforts to break 2.5 million people out of the poverty cycle. Technology also hugs the corridors of the forum, with booths within the Congress Centre showcasing the latest virtual reality, including being able to see yourself in the body of someone else.

Social gastronomy sessions offered hot soup and the promise of world peace. Representatives from the United Nations World Food Programme and Cargill, the global agribusiness, joined with chef David Hertz, one of the social gastronomy movement’s leaders, to make El Salvadorian soup “to warm up dialogues”. Hertz’s Gastromotiva organisation uses food to empower troubled communities such as in Brazil’s favelas and prisons. The idea is that people who live in these communities are taught to cook and then they train others, boosting their employment opportunities and spreading self-respect.

Davos provides time to educate the elite on all of the above, when captains of industry and their partners have the time to think and learn. Everyone is equal at the annual meeting – that is its power. World Economic Forum founder, professor Klaus Schwab, has come up with a perfect recipe.

It mixes heavy security cordons, a high entry price and a who’s who list of attendees with a down to earth and secluded alpine location and a format that means that once your inside you are treated like an insider. This has the profound effect of lowering everyone’s defences. Conversations just happen as everyone rubs shoulders and minds are very much open. Bear in mind this is all going on with the world’s press corps in attendance. A very paradox.

The annual meeting also makes a great platform for the sounding of urgent warnings, thanks to the heavy media presence. Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and others such as Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s foreign minister, called on Europe to take a greater role in hosting refugees. They highlighted that just as a result of Syria’s conflict, 10 million people have sought refuge abroad, mainly in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

The message from the Swan polar explorers was equally direct as well as practical. People can do a lot to help mitigate the effects of climate change with just a small action, such as electing to not eat a meat-based meal once a week, says Barney Swan.

“We are in a survival situation here on planet Earth,” says Robert, 61, who is nicknamed Rocky after the eponymous underdog character in the Hollywood boxing movies of the same name.

Rob and Barney!

He and 23-year old son Barney are also urging greater use of renewable sources of energy. For their expedition, Shell provided advanced biofuels and Nasa came up with solar-powered ice melting technology.

“To come home and discuss emissions and climate change” is what ultimately inspired Barney to complete the arduous journey, he says. Barney and Robert were also inspiring through their honesty, courage and integrity – all characteristics that hit home with high achievers who love to hear and see something extraordinary.

Perhaps that is why president Trump was such a hit in Davos. He revelled in the part of the biggest celebrity in a place already not short of them.

Global Goals Cast Podcast: Robert and Barney Swan at the World Economic Forum in Davos 2018

Global GoalsCast Podcast: Artificial Intelligence Reveals 61% of People are Alarmed and Concerned About Climate Change

| Source: Global GoalsCast
Global GoalsCast Infographic
Global GoalsCast Infographic
Global GoalsCast Podcast: Artificial Intelligence Reveals 61% of People are Alarmed and Concerned About Climate Change
Global GoalsCast

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 25, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In a podcast session during the World Economic Forum with Robert and Barney Swan, the father-son explorer duo who flew to Davos directly after their 600-mile journey across Antarctica, Global GoalsCast, a podcast that inspires and empowers listeners to take action around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), presented the first global Climate Change Sentimeter in partnership with the data science company CulturIntel.

Hosted by Global GoalsCast co-hosts Claudia Romo Edelman and Edie Lush, the session with the Swan explorers took place at the Arctic Basecamp at Schatzalp in Davos in an effort to bring the climate change topic into the center of the World Economic Forum, by reporting the global mindset, igniting discussion and sparking action on this key global issue. 

This session marks the global debut of the CulturIntel algorithm using machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to mine the sentiment and mindset of the people towards the Global Goals from open digital discussions, across the G7 countries, Mexico, Colombia and India.  This analysis was based on over 40 million digital discussions, making it one of the largest data sets ever used to understand the voice of the citizens and their relationship with the SDGs.

The CulturIntel Sentimeter reported a concerning split in global mindset on climate change, resulting in 61% being alarmed and worried and 39% either questioning the issue or being neutrally concerned; therefore, ranking other issues as bigger priorities.  The analysis reports most discussions associated with the global climate change are 71% focused on the problem, with only 14% focused on solutions and 15% predictions. This highlights a world that is concerned, yet finds it difficult to articulate or get engaged in positive and practical ways to bring solutions forward.

This finding confirms the need for platforms like Global GoalsCast, that was “inspired by and launched to deliver content and stories to demystify the SDGs and positively engage everyday citizens, giving tangible actions to contribute to solutions towards creating a more sustainable world,” said Romo Edelman. 

“We hope this partnership between Global GoalsCast and CulturIntel in Davos allows us to not only inspires and empower leaders with human-driven-insights but also engages everyday people to be part of solutions for a more sustainable world,” said Liliana Gil Valletta, Co-founder and CEO of CIEN+ CulturIntel and WEF Young Global Leader.

The Swans further highlight the need for action against climate change during the recently released episode of Global GoalsCast Journey Across Antarctica: The Swans and Climate Change that was featured in Apple Podcasts on January 22nd, 2018.

Tune in to Global GoalsCast on Apple Podcast to learn more.

About Global GoalsCast
Global GoalsCast co-hosted by Claudia Romo Edelman, Special Advisor for UNICEF and expert on marketing for social causes, and Edie Lush, Executive Editor of Hub Culture and well-known journalist and communication coach, is a female-run podcast aiming to inspire a new generation of early-adopter, millennial activists by turning to the rise of the podcast movement. It inspires and empowers listeners to take action and contribute to making the world a better place.  Each episode brings to life the stories of global sustainability heroes, from the known to the unknown, shares high quality data, and provides numerous ways in which they can take action and personally contribute to progressive global efforts aimed at achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

About Hub Culture
Hub Culture is a collaboration network established in 2002.  We are building the foundations of a virtual state through the development of technologies. Ven, the world’s first digital currency, it the stable, green engine of the Hub economy.  HubID is your digital identify passport and data vault.  Zeke is an artificial intelligence, a learning algorithm at your service.  These and other services help our members build worth worldwide.  We invite you to join us via the Hub Culture and Ven apps and at HubCulture.com.

About CulturIntel
CulturIntel is a proprietary methodology using machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data tools to mine everywhere there is an open-sourced digital discussion to report actionable insights, across segments, globally. This award-winning algorithm mines the unbiased and unsolicited voice of the people across all digital channels, beyond social media, to measure and rank sentiment, drivers, barriers and factors influencing people’s mindset and decision journeys.

CulturIntel’s Social cultural intelligence™ insights have been published by Harvard University and featured by various media outlets like Forbes, Fox News, among others. The method has been recognized as a disruptive and top innovation by MM&M, PM360 and the World Economic Forum Impact Lab. For more information about CulturIntel visit www.culturintel.com.

An infographic accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/8dcea63e-7d4b-4a22-88ef-b626339e944c

We Are All Human

Market Insider

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.