Today I am back on the Arctic ice for my third expedition to the North Pole, with a ski pole in one hand and a temperature probe in the other.
I often get asked why I keep going back to the Arctic. The answer to that question does not lie in a desire to test the limits of human endurance, or push myself to my own, because in truth there are much more physically difficult expeditions out there. The core of my mission is one of discovery - looking past the telltale signs of anthropogenic climate change in the Arctic in an attempt to decode some of the scientific evidence that lies locked within the ice.
On my first expedition to the North Pole, back in 2010 (when I was 15), I launched an organization called Last Degree, which aims to engage young people around the world in the global dialogue on climate change. The campaign is becoming increasingly focused on utilizing and contributing to the real scientific evidence, but the delivery remains the same. The Polar Regions - research aside - provide an un-paralleled opportunity to communicate anthropogenic changes to people around the world.
Social media, a platform that my generation understands better than any other (and uses it better than any other, as has been demonstrated in the Middle East and North Africa over the past year and a half), has played a significant role in this, especially in linking my age to the mission. When I was 15, I became the first person to check-in at the North Pole via Foursquare, and when I joined over 1,000 of my fellow One Young World ambassadors in Zurich last September, it was social media that was widely discussed as a tool for swift global change. One Young World inspires my generation to build upon the interconnectedness we are so comfortable with, supporting us in creating practical initiatives for delivering real positive change in the world.
Since 2010, the power of remote communications technology has only increased. And scientific research remains an integral part of my mission. This expedition will enable analysis of the isotopic composition of snow at the North Pole, in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The research will then be distributed around the world.
The power of today's technology, coupled with social media, now provide an unprecedented opportunity to communicate what we are trying to achieve on this expedition - a call to action on governments around the world to work harder to reduce CO2 emissions.
My 112km expedition is expected to last until mid-April and can be followed here: http://www.facebook.com/parkerliautaud.