In November 2023, I went on a voyage to Antarctica with the global leadership program for women and non-binary people with a STEMM background, Homeward Bound, for 20 intense and amazing days. It was one of the most profound experiences of my life. One of our last sessions onboard was about preparing for the question “How was your trip?”. Literally hours later, we were still discussing and collecting answers to the questions of what we learned in Antarctica, about Antarctica, and from Antarctica. Because there simply is no easy answer to that most complex question of how it all went.
The combination of the pristine Antarctic wilderness, being on a ship and the ocean for three weeks with 109 other women and non-binary people, and the daily practices of what kind of leaders we want to be in this world, offered a truly unique experience that words can hardly do justice.
Nevertheless, over the past 30 days, I have started to share bits and pieces of this incredible journey, and what I was able to learn. Writing each piece and selecting the photos surely brought me back to place each time. It made me miss the majestic quietness, the cleansing wind, the privilege of being able to focus on just what’s ahead in the day, and the dear company of my Homeward Bound sisters.
Traveling to Antarctica also comes with an invitation to join the growing crowd of Antarctic Ambassadors (https://iaato.org/antarctic-ambassadors/) who help promote awareness about the breathtaking beauty and delicate ecosystems of Antarctica while also advocating for its sustainable management.
In fact, anyone is welcome to become an Antarctic Ambassador to inspire a sense of stewardship and responsibility towards Antarctica’s long-term preservation. Whether you love penguins, remote locations, or are working in sustainability— Antarctica’s global role and impact will only increase and it needs to be talked about.
We all must be Antarctica’s voice. We must emphasize the interconnectedness of the Antarctic ecosystem with the well-being of our entire planet while the icy continent is already facing the effects from climate change. Whether we like it or not, all decisions we make today, anywhere on the globe, have a lasting impact on Antarctica which plays a crucial role in the balance of our global environment and a healthy future for our children.
In addition to my posts, I have started to gives talks about my voyage, to share what I have learned, and how we can all contribute to a more sustainable future. Because if we do nothing or not enough, our current generation is the last one to see Antarctica as it has been for thousands of years. West Antarctica will have melted, it has already started.
But it is also a time to be hopeful. Hopeful that through awareness, courage, corporate support and international collaborations we can still collectively turn this thing around. Is there really any other way?
When are you becoming an Antarctic Ambassador? How are you incorporating sustainability at home and in your leadership practice?