Seychellois to take part in North Pole expedition


25-March-2013

Renny (in the front) with his two peers during one of their training sessions in Norway


Renny, who just came back from training in Norway, has described the training as one of the best experiences he has ever had and said he is looking forward for the expedition.

Renny, and two other youngsters who will form part of the team for the upcoming expedition, had a fantastic few days training in the snow and ice, preparing for their extraordinary adventure to the North Pole.

The expedition is described as truly incredible and it is hoped that the special mission being planned will help change attitudes and behaviour towards climate change around the world.

The key message for the mission is to show that the Arctic matters to all countries across the globe, because sea ice helps to cool the planet and keep our climate stable. Without ice, we are more vulnerable to floods, storms and the kind of extreme weather we have all been experincing recently. The fact that Seychelles is close to the equator means that it can somehow be conceived as like the "opposite" of the North Pole, and yet the mission there is to show that these two extremely different places are directly and intimately linked. It also shows how every person on earth, wherever they are, has a stake in the future of the Arctic, and our fate is linked directly to it. That is why the organisers and participants are calling for the uninhabited area to be made into a global sanctuary.
 
Preparing the young participants for the North Pole was very important in order to gear them up for the huge physical, mental and emotional challenges of the expedition; to give the organisers a chance to make sure that they have the right team (which they confirmed Renny passed the test!) and; to bring everyone together so that they know and understand each other, and can work as a good team when they are in the Arctic and potentially facing very difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions. Renny was the only one in the group with experience in such extreme cold weather.

Organisers feel that having someone from Seychelles, a small island developing state, is important as the country is vulnerable to climate change and will directly be affected by what happens in the Arctic. According the organisers, the Seychelles was also selected as it is an example of a country that takes sustainability and the environment seriously, and does not see a separation between humans and nature in the same way as other places - and therefore respects nature, and is not abusing the resources and other species that we depend on for our survival.

The three young people from across the world will be travelling to the North Pole along with the well-known environment activists organisation Greenpeace to declare it protected on behalf of all life on Earth. The two other young people who will accompany Renny are Josefina Skerk from the indigenous Sami community in Sweden and member of the Sami parliament. Climate change threatens to change her culture forever. The third person is Kiera Kolson, a young Tso’Tine-Gwich’in woman from Denendeh, Canada. She is fighting to protect her land as corporations move to extract oil from the tar sands of Alberta.

During the five days training and camping in Norway, the three young people were in the company of project leaders and communication team of the Greenpeace and experienced photographers and video makers. Apart from learning to ski, Renny also had to sleep in tents, with outside temperature of -20 degrees Celsius, which was not only challenging for him, but also the two other young people coming from cold countries. 

In April, the group will set out on a grueling seven-day trek across the Arctic Ocean to reach the North Pole. Temperatures will range from -10 to -35 degrees centigrade during days of 24 hour sunlight. They will pull sleds weighing around 60 kilos each across flat ice and pressure ridges, using skis to avoid open water channels and melting ice.

Once they reach the pole, these young people are expected to conduct a unique ceremony. With support and advice from their elders they will celebrate human progress while acknowledging their reliance on the natural world. They will also pledge to protect the legacy of future generations while respecting the rights of those alive today. At the end of this ceremony, they will plant a flag for the future on the seabed beneath the pole. The flag will stand in defiance of previous attempts to claim the North Pole and its resources for any single nation. It will represent hope, unity and peace.

Using the equipment they have carried, they will attempt to lower a pod containing the names of over two and a half million people who want to protect the Arctic. These voices will help to start a new conversation about the ownership of the Arctic, from the highest levels of government to the broadest channels of public discussion.

The Seychellois people join together to congratulate Renny for his nomination in the expedition and wish him all the best.

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