x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

First man to walk both Poles wants Emirati on his next expedition

Sir Robert tells a Dubai audience he hopes an Emirati will join his team on their next expedition in March 2013.

Sir Robert Swan was the first man to reach both the North and South Poles on foot.
Sir Robert Swan was the first man to reach both the North and South Poles on foot.

DUBAI // The "negative reality impact" approach of environmentalism is over, according Sir Robert Swan, and it is now time for the environment to make business sense for it to be taken seriously.

Sir Robert, the first man in history to walk to the North and South poles more than 20 years ago, told an audience at the Pavilion Dubai that a positive approach to sustaining the planet is needed.

"The best way to save Antarctica is through companies like KPMG," he said.

"We need real business people and accountants to look at the balance sheet today and say in 29 years this is not profitable and to tell people to use real renewable energy and that there is no need to go to Antarctica to exploit its resources".

Sir Robert has founded 2041, a project aimed to inform and inspire young leaders to take responsibility and jolt them into action in areas of policy development, sustainable business generation and future technologies.

"In the year 2041 the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty could potentially end," he said.

"Our aim is to work towards the continuing protection of the Antarctic Treaty, so that the last great wilderness on earth is never exploited," he added.

Sir Robert told the audience that in his next expedition, in March 2013, he would like an Emirati artist to join the team.

Two years ago, the first Emirati woman to trek to the South Pole, Dana Al Hammadi, was a part of Sir Robert's 2041 Global Leaders expedition.

Following in her footsteps last year five more Emirati women trekked the journey, accompanied by the first Omani and Saudi women.

"The five girls came from the National Bank of Abu Dhabi last year and in the coming year's expedition we are working with the Higher Colleges of Technology," he said.

Sir Robert said he has been focusing on the Middle East, India and China due to the population size and energy resources in those regions.

"The Middle East will have 120 million unemployed people in the next few years. The research into solar power and application here has a huge potential for empowering and employing these young people," he said.

"When my mother was born 97 years ago, there were 1.8 billion people in the world; now there are over 7 billion - and 1.8 of them are in India."

He said that his approach in China and India was based on business. "In China and India, business leaders, who want to listen, create a real change and difference," he said.

For more information on Sir Robert's expeditions, and to participate, visit www.2041.com.

amustafa@thenational.ae