He hopes to reach Antarctica relying solely on renewable energy.
“You don’t inspire people by sending an e-mail, but by showing your commitment. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it.” That steady determination is typical of Robert Swan, the first man to reach both the North and South Poles on foot with no technical support. That was during the 1980s. Today, at age 57, Swan is more obsessed than ever, his gaze firmly fixed toward the south. Specifically, his focus is on the vast, unoccupied region of Antarctica. As in 1984, Swan plans to carry out his project without any help, but this time, he has sworn to forego the use of polluting fossil fuels.
2041: the challenge
“You don’t inspire people by sending an e-mail, but by showing your commitment.”In an environment where temperatures can drop to near -70°C, the adventurer and his team plan to use solar panels, a windmill and batteries to power their electrical equipment (GPS systems, headlights, cooking equipment and so on). But why these extreme restrictions?! Because the situation is dire: Antarctica, the last unspoiled wilderness left on the planet, is being visibly damaged by the harm that humans are causing to the environment. Protected by an international treaty ratified in 1959 that mandates its use for peaceful purposes only, this desert of ice is under threat from a portion of a treaty set to be revised in... 2041. Swan’s goal is simple: to take steps to preserve Antarctica’s territorial neutrality and prevent exploitation of the continent.
If he succeeds, Swan can lay claim to a new achievement of international import, one that will undoubtedly be imprinted on our memory and – we hope – change our outlook for the future.
- Visit the official site for the 2041 expedition
Main picture: ©Copyright Diester 2009