I have been invited by Robert Swan OBE to join the SPEC expedition at 60 nautical miles from the South Pole - the Last Degree.
The challenge is to walk to the South Pole, using only renewable energy, with the message that, if we can survive Antarctica, the coldest, driest and most inhospitable place on Earth, Step by Step, we can make similar changes in our everyday lives.
30 years ago, Gareth Wood, Roger Mear and Robert Swan made the first unsupported journey to the South Pole ‘In the Footsteps of Scott’. Step by step they made it happen. In celebration, a Mear and Swan will again walk to the Pole in January 2018. This time they carry a message of responsibility and sustainability. At the South Pole, where all lines of longitude converge, our individual actions - what we buy, sell and consume - connect us all and it’s impact affects us globally.
Antarctica - the last great wilderness - is under threat from global warming. Glaciers are retreating and ice shelves the size of France are breaking-up. Despite the urgent need to reduce manmade emissions, business has continued as usual. 2016 has already seen the hottest temperatures yet recorded. The way we live, what we buy, sell and consume defines our carbon footprint. Now is the time to act, to build a sustainable future, based on renewable energy to preserve not only Antarctica, but the world for our children. Step by step EVERYONE can make a difference.
Robert Swan, the founder of 2041, has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica. The name 2041 derives from the year the Antarctic Treaty, which currently protects Antarctica, ends. The Mission of 2041 is to inspire, stimulate and develop personal leadership skills amongst people in order to create a sustainable clean energy future.
SPEC - The South Pole Energy Challenge, led by Robert Swan, in association with NASA, will be the first polar expedition to be solely fuelled by renewable energy, using only the sun, wind and biofuels. No fossil fuels will be used on the 600 mile, 50 day man-haul across Antarctica, arriving at the South Pole in January 2018.
In December 2016, the SPEC team tested their new equipment and technologies (see the solar sled above) on the International Antarctic Expedition - 80 South. The carbon emitted by flights to the South and within Antarctica by the SPEC and SPEC-LD teams will be offset.
The expedition is now on the Antarctic Plateau and the clean energy technologies are proving to be successful.
I am a surgeon and an Associate Postgraduate Dean in the NHS working in Sheffield. I am married to the Mountaineer Roger Mear and we have two young sons. I live in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak National Park.
For half my life, it has been my dream to experience the Antarctic Polar Plateau.