Dispatch Number One -- Outward Bound -- Calgary Geoscientist participates in Antarctic Boot Camp
Date: March 1, 2012
Place: Ushuaia, Argentina
Antarctica: Dispatch Number One
Bitten by the polar bug, Susan R. Eaton returns to Antarctica in March 2012, participating in the International Antarctic Expedition (IAE ) 2012 which focuses on renewable energy, climate change and global sustainability issues.
The M/V Sea Spirit departs at 1700 hours on Thursday, March 1, from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in Argentina.
The IAE 2012 includes a "Leadership on the Edge Program" designed to promote team work in harsh conditions and to create environmental educators (adults and youth alike) and global leaders at the personal, corporate, academic, governmental, community and country levels.
Reminiscent of an Outward Bound School, the team of explorers will scale glaciers and camp on polar ice floes. In contrast to Sir Ernest Shackleton's era, the modern-day explorers will be equipped with satellite phones and radios, and decked out in the latest micro-fabrics, waterproof clothing and expedition-rated sleeping bags.
An Antarctic explorer-in-the-making, Eaton is a geologist, geophysicist, science journalist and extreme snorkeler.
A century ago, Sir Ernest Shackleton's scientific teams were comprised of geologists and geophysicists who explored Antarctica because it was there, and because it was unclaimed by any nation.
Today, geoscientists explore Antarctica, not because it's there, but because it might not be there — in its icebound majesty — in the future.
Led by Robert Swan, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and recipient of HRH Queen Elizabeth II's Polar Medal, the IAE 2012 will draw 70 participants from around the world, bringing together leaders from academia, industry, government, environmental non-governmental organizations and youth groups.
Corporate representatives from BP, Shell, KPMG, Coca-Cola, Lloyds of London and other renewable energy companies will participate in the expedition. School teachers from the United States and Middle Eastern countries will also participate in the IAE 2012. In October 2011, Swan ran the US Marine Corps Marathon, raising funds to send two wounded Marines on the IAE 2012.
Robert Swan was the first man to walk (unassisted) to both the South and North poles in 1986 and 1989, respectively. In November 2012, Swan will make history again, by walking to the South Pole, supported solely by solar and wind power.
In 2010, Eaton participated in the Elysium Visual Epic Expedition to Antarctica and South Georgia, where she documented climate change and ocean change by snorkelling and filming in -2°C waters. In contrast, participation in the IAE 2012 will enable Eaton to experience Antarctica from above the water, with her feet firmly planted on the ground.
Participation in the 2012 IAE will also enable Eaton to investigate, document and report on new subjects: renewable energy applications and sustainability issues as they relate to Antarctica and the broader world, including the Canadian Arctic.
As the sole geoscientist on the expedition, Eaton will study geothermal energy, a 24/7 renewable energy source that's independent of the number of hours of sunlight in a day or of the wind speed. As a geoscientist, she will also emphasize the key role that the disciplines of geology and geophysics play in studying climate change in Antarctica and around the world.
On May 19th, Eaton is the keynote speaker for the Houston Geological Society's annual outreach event. Her presentation, entitled "A Geoscientist in Antarctica: Following in Shackleton's Footsteps," will be presented at the IMAX Theatre of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Dispatch sent from Ushuaia, Argentina.
For more information about 2041, visit their blog where you'll find videos, pictures and blog posts from various participants.