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Event Detail


Father and son team to the South Pole: Revolutionising polar expeditions using clean energy

Robert Swan OBE
Tuesday, 18 Sep 2018
Complimentary Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Talk 7.30 pm
UBS, 52/F, Two International Finance Centre, 8 Finance Street, Central
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In this talk, famous polar explorer Robert Swan OBE tells of the ground-breaking polar expedition he undertook with his son Barney earlier this year: The South Pole Energy Challenge. It was the first polar expedition to the South Pole powered entirely by renewable energy. The expedition served as the platform on which he launched the ClimateForce Challenge, which aims to reduce 320 million tonnes of atmospheric CO2 before 2025.

The father-son duo and two team members began the expedition in November 2017.  At the halfway point, Mr Swan made the decision to return to basecamp to allow the rest of the team to increase their pace and even reach the South Pole ahead of schedule.  The extraordinary success of the 900-mile long expedition showed that living solely on renewable energies is not only possible but also more achievable than previously thought.  Mr Swan recounts his experiences on the expedition, and sheds light on the practicalities of life powered solely by renewable energy.  

Mr Swan was the first person to walk to the North and South poles and on both expeditions he experienced the environmental damage to the ice caps first hand.  This lead him to dedicate his life to the preservation of Antarctica, co-authoring the 2009 book Antarctica 2041: My Quest to Save the Earth’s Last Wilderness.  2041 is of great significance to Mr Swan as that is the year when the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty could potentially be modified or amended.  His 2041Foundation was born out of this dedication to save Antarctica, aiming to use polar expeditions to educate, engage and inspire the next generations. 

Robert Swan was born and educated in Durham, UK and later obtained a BA in Ancient History from Durham University.  In 1988, he was awarded the Polar Medal from Queen Elizabeth II and in 1995 he received the OBE.  He is an UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Youth and won the Humanitarian Innovation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.  He is recognised for his extraordinary ability to inspire his audiences and has given many thrilling talks, including his 2014 TED talk, entitled Let’s save the last pristine continent and his talks at RGS HK in 2005 and 2009.

Members, guests and others are most welcome to attend this talk, which is HK$150 for Members and HK$200 for guests and others including a glass of red or white wine. This event is free of charge for Student Members.
The Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong wishes to express its thanks to  UBS for its generous assistance with this talk. 

See other events in 2018