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Expedition Blog

2041 was founded by polar explorer, environmental leader and public speaker Robert Swan, OBE, the first person in history to walk to both the North and South Poles. Swan has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica by the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change.

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From Antarctica’s icy classroom to student assemblies at Bangkok

Guest Blog by Helen Thew

In March 2017, two members of the Bangkok Patana School community, Rebecca- a year 10 student, and I were invited to accompany polar explorer Robert Swan on his 2041 mission to Antarctica. Why “2041”? This is the year that the Treaty protecting the world’s last great wilderness expires, leaving it vulnerable to exploitation.

Since getting back, Rebecca and I have been involved in so many assemblies and talks to parents spreading the word about 2041 and what we learnt on the expedition. So many primary students now come up to me and ask me Penguin questions … I am known as Miss Antarctica to them!

I think one of my ‘IT’ moments on the trip was seeing the chunks of ice shelves which had broken off from the main continent and floating in the ocean all around us, showing us just how much it has already broken up. I remember Robert said, “If people do not believe in climate change, they just need to come and see this”. He also very powerfully said, “It should not make us depressed but give us the positive energy to not stop sharing the climate message”.

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Exploring Brown Bluff

We are all truly humbled by the sheer, untouched beauty of Antarctica as the IAE 2017 team continues further along the Peninsula. Today we visited the famous Browns Bluff, where we marveled at the painted rock towering high above us. Our team traveled by Zodiac, small inflatable vessels, through an incredible cove filled with ice monoliths each as different as the participants on our team.

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Venturing Deeper into the Antarctic Peninsula

Blog contributed by: Alex Bogdan, originally published on southbysouthpole.com

I woke up early, hopeful to catch the sunrise and first sightings of an iceberg. There was a thick cloud covering and no signs of the sun, nor signs of land. I took a walk around the ship and up to the bridge where the captain and crew navigate the vessel. I stood at the bridge for an hour. From here, we could see Humpback whales, penguins, and seals leaping across the water, along with several species of birds. I’ve been surrounded by people who are truly passionate about wildlife. They can name the specific species of most animals from 200 yards away, just by seeing a quick glimpse. It’s impressive, and I’m surprised by how envious I’ve become of their knowledge, especially of birds. Normally, I tend to dislike birds, and slightly fear them. I blame Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

After much anticipation, and more than an hour of watching the horizon, we finally caught our first visual of the South Shetland Islands, merely shadows on the cloud covered horizon. This was an exhilarating moment. The crew told us it would be another hour until we were sailing through the islands, so we left our post to meet up with the 2041 group for an International Women’s Day photo. I thought about the strong women in my life, my mom especially, and the intelligent, powerful women I’m lucky to work with at SAP, so I’d like to say happy belated Women’s Day to you all. 

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South Bound & Down

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This morning, the team set their eyes on the raw landscape of the far north peninsular. A land that has never seen war, that is near untouched by modern development, and where wildlife still roam free from the fear of man. 

A melting pot of backstories, and expectations soon fade into perspective under the sheer scale and pristine detail of Antarctica. Exploring fur seal coated shorelines and standing side-by-side with yakking colonies of penguins, has left many of the participants with a sheer “words will not do justice” mindset.

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Embarkation & the Drake Passage

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The Expedition kicked off with a flurry of action with the team departing South to the bottom of Patagonia, Ushuaia. Once the Beagle Channel was in sight, people's tiredness was soon replaced with sheer excitement.  Converging cultures, expertise's, & ambitions meld together with the hope to find new horizons and ideas off the map. Together, with common cause and active solutions we will return home with a fresh perspective on how to strengthen our stories and visions looking into the future. 

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