By Chris Powell
As part of the South Pole Energy Challenge (SPEC), Commvault created a student outreach program to engage and educate children from all over the world to follow the expedition and ask questions about the Antarctic. It is the hope of the 2041 team and Commvault that children become aware of the risks of climate change, realize there are ways to make a difference, and take action. At Commvault, we worked with local educators at High Tech High School in Lincroft, N.J., to develop a lesson plan and engage students all over the world, inviting them to become part of the expedition by posing questions to the Arctic Explorers. I brought a card deck of the students’ questions with me to Antarctica. We continue to receive questions daily and respond via satellite phone. Commvault employees around the world are also inviting their children to get involved and ask their questions online.
Robert Swan and I have both answered these questions and posed them to other members of the expedition. The questions, ranging from practical to philosophical, have been fascinating.
Here are two of my favorite questions Swan has answered so far:
Question: What animal or pet would you take with you to the South Pole?
Answer: A husky dog. It is the only animal that could survive the extreme climate, and it could help me pull my sled.
Question: What will the landscape of the Antarctic look like after 2041 if the treaty expires?
Answer: Imagine the Gulf of Mexico as it exists today [with] tens of thousands of oil rigs drilling in sea. That is what Antarctica could look like if the 2041 treaty expires. However, it’s not inevitable. By the time 2041 comes, children today will be adults – adults who can VOTE to protect Antarctica. You can take action now by using more renewable energy and prove that it isn’t necessary to drill in Antarctica. Together we can protect the last great wilderness left in the world.
Swan is a firm believer in engaging the youth of the world to understand the importance of preserving the pristine continent of Antarctica and finding ways to use renewable, sustainable energy in order to prevent further exploitation of fossil fuels. As a parent, I support his efforts (maybe to an extreme since I’m walking to the South Pole with him). I encourage all parents and teachers to follow our journey on the SPEC website, learn about what the expedition is doing and have children ask questions.