Read here about what inspired me to take a year off teaching and go to Antarctica!
Last year was the toughest year I have had. Whilst teaching in Bangkok as an International School Physical Education teacher, I broke my leg. I became quite frustrated and low, I had never really faced a major incident in my life like this and I wasn’t sure what my role was as I was not able to teach PE. Shortly after my return to school, I provided teacher support for the Student Environmental Committee. As a result, I felt newly inspired and passionate and knew that I wanted to be involved in projects to better our environment. This passion was ignited further when Sir Robert Swan, the FIRST person in history to walk to both the North and South Pole, visited our school to talk about his 2041 mission to save Antarctica! And wow did he inspire us…… Students, staff, parents were all mesmerised by his presence and we enjoyed every minute with him.
Rob was a great storyteller, he was funny and extremely knowledgeable. What resonated most with me was the amount of time, passion and sacrifice he had made since starting the 50-year long project, given to him by Jacques Cousteau, to save Antarctica by the year 2041. In 2041, the treaty to protect it runs out and could leave it vulnerable to exploitation.
Rob’s message; “The Greatest Threat to OUR planet is our belief that SOMEONE ELSE will SAVE it,” really instilled in me, a need to take action now!
He was a true wake up call for me. Rob also explained to us that if he promises someone that he will do something then he will never break that promise and he never has. I found that quite extraordinary when the word “promise” is used so loosely these days.
Rob took time to talk with us personally afterwards; as I was on crutches he seemed concerned and asked about my injury. He then gave me some good advice, saying that from someone from a lot of experience with injuries then I had to focus on the strength. I was so happy to get advice from him and it gave me a boost to keep getting stronger. I found that two weeks later I was still thinking about Rob’s visit and the whole school was still buzzing with excitement. At that point, I thought, “I have to be part of this”. Following on from that I emailed Rob to tell him the impact he had had on me and I was ecstatic when I received a kind and genuine email back telling me to get strong and then maybe I could be part of the 2018 expedition……Yeeehaaah.
Since then I have been improving my knowledge, raising awareness and changing my own daily habits to do my bit for the environment. I am much more aware of the impact we can have on our own lives, the lives of others and of animals when we begin to make small positive changes and encourage others to follow our example.
In February 2018, I will join Robert Swan and his team on CLIMATE FORCE 2018 (http://2041.com/cf2018) to learn about the impact of climate change and how renewable resources can play a huge and extremely important part in protecting our planet now and in the future. This trip is going to equip me with the skills and knowledge to help me become a better leader.
Rob said that “Antarctica is the greatest teacher he knows”.
As a teacher myself, I want to meet, experience, listen to and learn from Antarctica and then take all she has shared with me back into schools. My goal is to inspire, raise awareness and deliver the message to the students, our future leaders, that Antarctica is giving us a warning and asking for our help. Climate change is happening and if we all work together to make small changes to our daily lives then we can achieve something that we can all be proud of.
We can always do better