x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

An environmental pole

Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen. Not exactly a household name these days, but adventurers everywhere will remember him as the brave explorer who first reached the South Pole in 1911.

Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen. It may not be a name that naturally trips off the tongue, but adventurers everywhere will remember Amundsen as the brave explorer who first reached the South Pole in 1911.

Now, as The National reports today, 12 Emiratis are among the 65 adventurers who will join the ranks of intrepid travellers who have travelled across Antarctica, one of the most inhospitable environments on earth. But of course, while Amundsen broke new ground with every stride, our modern-day explorers are challenging a different barrier: the trip is being organised to raise awareness about the environment and climate change.

The British adventurer Robert Swan, the first man to reach both poles unassisted, will lead the venture. His organisation 2041 warns that the South Pole could no longer exist within three decades because of global warming. For the Emirati members of the team, it is an opportunity to represent the country in this crucial mission. "It is a challenge but it will show that Emiratis are leaders," Mr Swan said.

Other members of the team come from China and India, nations that also have a growing carbon footprint. We should all be inspired by the hardships this brave team is willing to risk - not inspired to travel to the South Pole perhaps, but to have a greater environmental awareness.