World's first expedition to the South Pole using only renewable energy about to begin
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Explorer Robert Swan OBE has experienced some of the harshest environments on the planet, becoming the first man in history to walk unaided to both poles in the 1980s.
Within days, he will embark on his last major expedition, an epic 600-mile, 60-day trek on foot to the South Pole.
This journey is not about an ending, though - instead it looks firmly to the future.
Robert will begin his journey this week as he walks alongside his 23-year-old son, Barney, passing on the baton of polar exploration to the next generation, and their journey will be the first to be powered solely by renewables.
The pair are being supported by some of the world’s most technologically advanced companies, including NASA, who are providing a state of the art solar-powered ice melter; advanced biofuels provided by Shell, and technical clothing for extreme conditions by Patagonia.
By only using renewable sources of energy, Robert and Barney will be able to power their cooking stove and keep warm in temperatures as low as minus 40°C, as they trek through some of the most inhospitable terrain on Earth.
“We have planned for every scenario but our main contingency for when we’re in an Antarctic blizzard and I can’t see my hand in front of me is the advanced biofuels provided by Shell, which will keep us warm, comfortable and most importantly, safe,” said Robert.
Through this extraordinary expedition, the father and son team aim to highlight to younger generations that there is no silver bullet to the challenge of climate change. It is up to all players in society - including governments, industry, entrepreneurs and corporations to come together to develop a mixture of cleaner energy solutions.
Speaking of the enormity of climate change, Barney said: “My generation has too much information and we’re tired of the inconvenient truth, but this expedition is about the convenient solutions that can address the current climate change challenges.
“Our expedition is a small example of how we can all make choices to help us transition to a cleaner energy future. For people at home who are wondering what they can do, just making small changes like eating from sustainable sources, using less plastic cups and bags, and using solar-powered appliances to charge your phone will all help.”
As a life-long explorer, Robert is passionate about caring for the environment. When asked what’s left to explore he’s said, “the greatest exploration left is our ability as humans to learn how to live on the earth sustainably."