Antartica sabbatical? Here's how you can be one of 5 volunteers wanted for special Research Mission

2019-09-25 06:45
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Staff accommodation area at Union Glacier Camp, with Mount Rossman behind

Has the idea of taking time out of your career ever crossed your mind? What about doing so, in order to give a little something back? If you've yes - this Antarctic Sabbatical is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to journey to the frozen frontier you've been looking for.

And being part of this Scientific Reseaech Mission doesn't mean you need any formal qualification to help the programme, as a citizen scientist you will help gather info to help gain a better understanding of humans’ environmental impact. 

All you need is an adventurous spirit, passion for the environment and willingness to apply, says Airbnb, who together with Ocean Conservancy have announced this project as part of a grander plan to inspire people to take time out of their careers to give back. 

The Antarctic Sabbatical is an "unprecedented opportunity for five passionate individuals to travel to Earth’s most remote continent and join Antarctic Scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams on a first-of-its-kind scientific research mission in December".

The five volunteer citizen scientists will collect snow samples and study the extent to which microplastics have made their way to the interior of Antarctica.

Aerial view of the Ellsworth Mountains from the wi
(Supplied)

So what's the goal?

"To bring greater awareness to humans’ impact on the climate in one of the world’s least understood and most isolated ecosystems. By understanding the impact of plastic pollution generated elsewhere in the world, the citizen scientists will deliver insights on how the global community can help protect both Antarctica and the planet."

“Most people think of Antarctica as a pristine and isolated continent, but recent evidence shows that even the most remote locations are affected by plastic pollution. This expedition will help us understand the pathways of microplastics to remote regions such as Antarctica and comes at a critical time to highlight our responsibility to protect our natural world," says Jones-Williams.

“This expedition will be hard work, with scientific rigour required during unforgiving wintery conditions. We are looking for passionate individuals, with a sense of global citizenship, who are excited to be a part of the team and to return home and share our findings with the world.” 

Click here to fill in the application form and apply for the Antarctic Sabbatical. 

Aerial view of the Ellsworth Mountains from the wi

(Supplied)

On the month-long expedition, the citizen scientists will: 

? Attend an immersion training in Punta Arenas, Chile, where they will prepare themselves with courses on glaciology and field sampling as well as lab work and equipment practice.  
? Fly to Antarctica to begin their scientific mission, landing on a naturally formed blue-ice runway deep within the continent where the research will be conducted. 
? Collect snow samples from the interior of Antarctica and study them for foreign microfibers to determine how far waste and pollution has traveled across the world. 
? Visit the South Pole, where they can walk around the globe in just a few steps. 
? Get the chance to explore the beauty of Antarctic sites like the Drake Icefall, Charles Peak Windscoop, and Elephant's Head to learn about the continent’s geography. 

? Return to Chile where they will continue to study their findings and work with Ocean Conservancy to become ambassadors for protecting the oceans. In this advocacy role, they will deliver insights on how the Airbnb community and others can help minimize their collective plastic footprint to support Ocean Conservancy’s mission. 

Aerial view of the Ellsworth Mountains from the wi

Airbnb says it is committed to providing the option for sustainable travel to its community at every point of the trip, aiming to "inform through advocacy" through an environmental impact assessment that will be carried out. 

It will measure the impact and identify what can be done to reduce the footprint of humans over time. These are foundational steps that will inform future commitments and our vision to be a leader in sustainable travel. 

“Partnering with Airbnb on the Antarctic Sabbatical is an incredible opportunity to continue our fight against ocean plastic and raise awareness of this issue,” said Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy.

“Through our annual International Coastal Cleanup, where volunteers not only collect trash from beaches and waterways around the world but also log every item in our global database, Ocean Conservancy has a long history of working with citizen scientists, and we look forward to applying the results of this expedition to global solutions.”  

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