Take your mind to Antarctica, what are the first things you picture? Lots of landscape made entirely out of ice? Penguins sliding on their bellies to the ocean? Or maybe a mother polar bear watching her babies play? Whatever you see, this southernmost continent is also the place where the world learned that there is a hole within the ozone layer that is slowly causing global climatic change. Robert Swan made it his life mission to preserve this beautiful continent through his campaign “2041”.
1.) First I want to point out that you were the first person ever to walk both the North and South poles. How amazing! How was that experience to you? What was going through your mind?
- This was a dream since I was the age of eleven and it took seven years to raise the money: big commitment, big team; we certainly didn’t do it on our own. Our Team’s average age was mid-twenties. It was a determination to do it—the environment wasn’t much on my mind; rather it was to pull off a dream and mission. It was hard work with no radio communication and assistance, while carrying 350lb sleds, and loosing lost 69 pounds.
2.) How did you first become involved with the environmental movement?
- On the South Pole we walked under the then undetected hole in the ozone layer. At the North Pole the ice cap melted four months before it ever had—our nearly drowned. It became clear to me that I should put my efforts behind doing something because I do believe that looking after the world is not somebody else’s problem, its ours—that’s what got me involved.
3.) As I was browsing your website, I saw your own quote that states, “As the last unspoiled wilderness on earth, Antarctica is currently protected by a treaty prohibiting drilling and mining until 2041. Decisions made by today’s youth will impact our entire planet’s ecosystem and the future of life in earth.” This really spoke volumes to me and really describes one on Greening Forward’s main goals…to get youth to become more involved with environmental issues, but as a leader. Which leads me to my next question: What is your opinion on young people creating environmental changes independently?
- Changes happen over a lifetime and I do believe that young people can make a difference if they change their attitude. They can and we’ve proved they can. Each personal spends money and they can chose how that money is spent. Also, it’s a question of inspiring other young people to continue moving forward.
- If you can’t beat them join them. Go and work for the big corporations and make a difference to these influential people that can and should make a big difference—make a change from within. Think clearly about our use of energy and think about what is possible. Is it possible that you can use renewable energy? We have to make those efforts here in the United States but we need to keep India and China in mind. India has 1.2 billion people and if they get it wrong, we get it wrong. See how you can influence the East.
Despite the temperature, Antarctica is a beautiful continent full of life that needs our help. No matter what age, we can make a difference, years before 2041. To learn more about Robert Swan’s projects, visit his website: 2041.com
Do you have any ideas on how to help with his campaign? Comment below!
Until next time,