Robert Swan, OBE, BA, FRGS, is one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and environmental leaders.
By the age of 33, Robert Swan became the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles, earning his place in history alongside the great explorers and adventurers. His 900 mile journey to the South Pole, ‘In the Footsteps of Scott’, stands as the longest unassisted walk ever made on earth. During his expeditions, Swan experienced firsthand the effects of global warming at both Poles.
In Antarctica, his eyes forever changed colour after prolonged exposure under the hole in the ozone layer. In the Arctic, his team survived near-death encounters in a melting ocean, prematurely caused by global warming. These powerful experiences only helped to shape and focus Swan’s lifetime goal: working towards the preservation of Antarctica as the last great wilderness on earth.
In 1992, Robert Swan was the Keynote Speaker at the first ‘World Summit for Sustainable Development’ held in Rio de Janeiro. There he addressed world leaders and was charged with undertaking a 10 year global and local environmental mission which would involve industry, business and young people. Ten years later in 2002, he reported back to world leaders at the second World Summit held in Johannesburg. He had successfully completed all of his promised missions, including numerous international, youth-driven clean-up projects in Antarctica and Africa. A true visionary at heart, Robert committed to a third 10 year mission, this time to inspire youth to become sustainable leaders and promote the use of renewable energy throughout the planet.
Since 2003, he has led annual expeditions to Antarctica with students and business executives to focus on leadership training, environmental clean-up and education initiatives. The ‘Inspire Antarctic Expedition’ teams helped design and build the world’s first renewable energy Education Station in Antarctica, called the E-Base.
In March 2008, Robert Swan made Antarctic history again by living solely on renewable energy at the E-Base for over two weeks. Successful in the world’s harshest climate, the positive message Swan sent to the world was “This is possible in Antarctica, and surely it is possible in the ‘real world’!”
His contribution to education and the environment has been recognised on an international scale, seen through his appointment as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth and Special Envoy to the Director General of UNESCO. He was awarded the high distinction of OBE, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, as well as the Polar Medal by Her Majesty.
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