Event Detail


Swimming the North Pole:Campaigning for the Environment

Lewis Pugh
Wednesday, 19 Sep 2012
Lecture theatre, Olympic House, 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po
Popular speaker Louis Pugh on his aquatic achievement at the North Pole

Drinks 6.30 pm (cash bar) lecture starts 7.30 pm

HK$150 RGS HK Members and HK$200 Non Members

The Royal Geographical Society welcomes Lewis Pugh to speak on "Swimming across the North Pole: Campaigning for the Environment ". This lecture is a riveting account by endurance swimmer and environmental advocate Lewis Pugh of the first long distance swim across the North Pole. He also tells the story of his swim across Lake Pumori , a glacial lake on Mt Everest, together with some of his other famous feats. Mr Pugh is a famous and passionate raconteur, with this lecture having twice sold out at the RGS UK, having been given to 1.5 million people worldwide, with another 62 lectures already booked worldwide.

Following Cambridge then 5 years as an SAS officer, in 2006 Lewis Pugh became the first to person to complete a longdistance swim in every ocean of the world. Then in 2007, he was the first person to swim across the icy waters of the North Pole. He has also pioneered more swims around famous landmarks than any other swimmer. Each of these seemingly impossible feats was achieved to raise awareness about the environment, especially the vulnerable nature of water and its importance to humanity.

At midnight during the arctic summer of 2007, Lewis Pugh stood on the edge of the sea ice at the North Pole. The air temperature at the North Pole was well below zero, with the water into which he was about to plunge minus 1.7 degrees, although this was no inandout dip into the world’s coldest water. Mr Pugh was to swim one kilometre across the North Pole. In this lecture, Mr Pugh tells the extraordinary story of this swim, including how unexpectedly his temperature rose before the swim though just wearing swimming trunks and the effects of the beginnings of hypothermia, then his eventual success.

Lewis Pugh achieved these feats principally to help protect what he considers the most wonderful environments on the planet, also for publicity for mankind to reverse the damage done to the environment. He argues that the challenges are enormous, tough laws need to be enacted, but now is the time for action.

Lewis Pugh hails from England, but since has resided in England and South Africa. He read law at Cambridge and initially became a maritime lawyer in London. However, there wasn’t an ocean or a sea that he didn’t want to swim, or a mountain he didn’t want to climb, so he decided to become an adventurer and environmental campaigner. He spent five years in the British SAS, devoting his free time to preparing for and swimming in the world’s most hostile places. These ultimately included the North Cape, the Antarctic and the glacial Lake Pumori on Mt Everest.

He has received a number of awards including France and South Africa's highest honours and the Freedom of the City of London. In 2010, the World Economic Forum named him a Young Global Leader for his "potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through inspiring leadership. " Mr Pugh’s accomplishments have received extensive media coverage by the BBC, Good Morning America, CNN, National Geographic, Sky News, Al Jazeera and many others. Famous for his inspirational speeches, he has spoken at events for Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton and countless large companies from Unilever to Microsoft. His speech on leadership at the BIF Conference was voted as one of the “7 Most Inspiring Videos on the Web", while his speech at TED Global has been viewed by over 1.5 million people. His autobiography “Achieving the Impossible" is a Bestseller.

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