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  • Let's go south.

  • All of you are actually going south.

  • This is the direction of south, this way,

  • and if you go 8,000 kilometers out of the back of this room,

  • you will come to as far south as you can go anywhere on Earth,

  • the Pole itself.

  • Now, I am not an explorer.

  • I'm not an environmentalist.

  • I'm actually just a survivor,

  • and these photographs that I'm showing you here are dangerous.

  • They are the ice melt of the South and North Poles.

  • And ladies and gentlemen,

  • we need to listen to what these places are telling us,

  • and if we don't, we will end up with our own survival situation

  • here on planet Earth.

  • I have faced head-on these places,

  • and to walk across a melting ocean of ice

  • is without doubt the most frightening thing

  • that's ever happened to me.

  • Antarctica is such a hopeful place.

  • It is protected by the Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959.

  • In 1991, a 50-year agreement was entered into

  • that stops any exploitation in Antarctica,

  • and this agreement could be altered,

  • changed, modified, or even abandoned

  • starting in the year 2041.

  • Ladies and gentlemen,

  • people already far up north from here in the Arctic

  • are already taking advantage

  • of this ice melt,

  • taking out resources from areas already that have been covered in ice

  • for the last 10, 20, 30,000,

  • 100,000 years.

  • Can they not join the dots

  • and think, "Why is the ice actually melting?"

  • This is such an amazing place,

  • the Antarctic, and I have worked hard

  • for the last 23 years on this mission

  • to make sure that what's happening up here in the North

  • does never happen, cannot happen in the South.

  • Where did this all begin?

  • It began for me at the age of 11.

  • Check out that haircut. It's a bit odd. (Laughter)

  • And at the age of 11, I was inspired by the real explorers

  • to want to trying be the first to walk to both Poles.

  • I found it incredibly inspiring

  • that the idea of becoming a polar traveler

  • went down pretty well with girls at parties when I was at university.

  • That was a bit more inspiring.

  • And after years, seven years of fundraising,

  • seven years of being told no,

  • seven years of being told by my family to seek counseling

  • and psychiatric help,

  • eventually three of us found ourselves marching to the South Geographic Pole

  • on the longest unassisted march ever made anywhere on Earth in history.

  • In this photograph, we are standing in an area

  • the size of the United States of America,

  • and we're on our own.

  • We have no radio communications, no backup.

  • Beneath our feet, 90 percent of all the world's ice,

  • 70 percent of all the world's fresh water.

  • We're standing on it.

  • This is the power of Antarctica.

  • On this journey, we faced the danger of crevasses,

  • intense cold,

  • so cold that sweat turns to ice inside your clothing,

  • your teeth can crack,

  • water can freeze in your eyes.

  • Let's just say it's a bit chilly. (Laughter)

  • And after 70 desperate days, we arrive at the South Pole.

  • We had done it.

  • But something happened to me on that 70-day journey in 1986

  • that brought me here, and it hurt.

  • My eyes changed color in 70 days through damage.

  • Our faces blistered out.

  • The skin ripped off and we wondered why.

  • And when we got home, we were told by NASA

  • that a hole in the ozone had been discovered

  • above the South Pole,

  • and we'd walked underneath it the same year it had been discovered.

  • Ultraviolet rays down, hit the ice, bounced back, fried out the eyes,

  • ripped off our faces.

  • It was a bit of a shock -- (Laughter) --

  • and it started me thinking.

  • In 1989, we now head north.

  • Sixty days, every step away from the safety of land

  • across a frozen ocean.

  • It was desperately cold again.

  • Here's me coming in from washing naked at -60 Celsius.

  • And if anybody ever says to you, "I am cold" -- (Laughter) --

  • if they look like this, they are cold, definitely.

  • (Applause)

  • And 1,000 kilometers away from the safety of land,

  • disaster strikes.

  • The Arctic Ocean melts beneath our feet four months before it ever had in history,

  • and we're 1,000 kilometers from safety.

  • The ice is crashing around us, grinding, and I'm thinking, "Are we going to die?"

  • But something clicked in my head on this day,

  • as I realized we, as a world, are in a survival situation,

  • and that feeling has never gone away for 25 long years.

  • Back then, we had to march or die.

  • And we're not some TV survivor program.

  • When things go wrong for us, it's life or death,

  • and our brave African-American Daryl,

  • who would become the first American to walk to the North Pole,

  • his heel dropped off from frostbite 200 klicks out.

  • He must keep going, he does,

  • and after 60 days on the ice, we stood at the North Pole.

  • We had done it.

  • Yes, I became the first person in history stupid enough to walk to both Poles,

  • but it was our success.

  • And sadly, on return home,

  • it was not all fun.

  • I became very low.

  • To succeed at something is often harder than actually making it happen.

  • I was empty, lonely, financially destroyed.

  • I was without hope,

  • but hope came in the form of the great Jacques Cousteau,

  • and he inspired me to take on the 2041 mission.

  • Being Jacques, he gave me clear instructions:

  • Engage the world leaders, talk to industry and business,

  • and above all, Rob, inspire young people,

  • because they will choose the future of the preservation of Antarctica.

  • For the world leaders, we've been to every world Earth Summit,

  • all three of them, with our brave yacht, 2041,

  • twice to Rio, once in '92, once in 2012,

  • and for the Earth Summit in Johannesburg,

  • we made the longest overland voyage ever made with a yacht,

  • 13,000 kilometers around the whole of Southern Africa

  • doing our best to inspire over a million young people in person

  • about 2041 and about their environment.

  • For the last 11 years, we have taken over 1,000 people,

  • people from industry and business, women and men from companies,

  • students from all over the world, down to Antarctica,

  • and during those missions, we've managed to pull out

  • over 1,500 tons of twisted metal left in Antarctica.

  • That took eight years, and I'm so proud of it

  • because we recycled all of it back here in South America.

  • I have been inspired ever since I could walk

  • to recycle by my mum.

  • Here she is, and my mum --

  • (Applause) --

  • my mum is still recycling,

  • and as she is in her 100th year, isn't that fantastic?

  • (Applause)

  • And when -- I love my mum.

  • (Laughter)

  • But when Mum was born,

  • the population of our planet was only 1.8 billion people,

  • and talking in terms of billions,

  • we have taken young people from industry and business

  • from India, from China.

  • These are game-changing nations, and will be hugely important

  • in the decision about the preservation of the Antarctic.

  • Unbelievably, we've engaged and inspired women to come from the Middle East,

  • often for the first time they've represented their nations in Antarctica.

  • Fantastic people, so inspired.

  • To look after Antarctica,

  • you've got to first engage people with this extraordinary place,

  • form a relationship, form a bond,

  • form some love.

  • It is such a privilege to go to Antarctica,

  • I can't tell you.

  • I feel so lucky,

  • and I've been 35 times in my life,

  • and all those people who come with us return home as great champions,

  • not only for Antarctica,

  • but for local issues back in their own nations.

  • Let's go back to where we began: the ice melt of the North and South Poles.

  • And it's not good news.

  • NASA informed us six months ago

  • that the Western Antarctic Ice Shelf is now disintegrating.

  • Huge areas of ice --

  • look how big Antarctica is even compared to here --

  • Huge areas of ice are breaking off from Antarctica,

  • the size of small nations.

  • And NASA have calculated that the sea level will rise,

  • it is definite,

  • by one meter in the next 100 years,

  • the same time that my mum has been on planet Earth.

  • It's going to happen,

  • and I've realized that the preservation of Antarctica

  • and our survival here on Earth are linked.

  • And there is a very simple solution.

  • If we are using more renewable energy in the real world,

  • if we are being more efficient with the energy here,

  • running our energy mix in a cleaner way,

  • there will be no financial reason to go and exploit Antarctica.

  • It won't make financial sense,

  • and if we manage our energy better, we also may be able to slow down,

  • maybe even stop,

  • this great ice melt that threatens us.

  • It's a big challenge, and what is our response to it?

  • We've got to go back one last time,

  • and at the end of next year,

  • we will go back to the South Geographic Pole,

  • where we arrived 30 years ago on foot,

  • and retrace our steps of 1,600 kilometers,

  • but this time only using renewable energy to survive.

  • We will walk across those icecaps, which far down below are melting,

  • hopefully inspiring some solutions on that issue.

  • This is my son, Barney.

  • He is coming with me.

  • He is committed to walking side by side with his father,

  • and what he will do is to translate these messages

  • and inspire these messages to the minds of future young leaders.

  • I'm extremely proud of him.

  • Good on him, Barney.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, a survivor -- and I'm good --

  • a survivor sees a problem and doesn't go, "Whatever."

  • A survivor sees a problem and deals with that problem

  • before it becomes a threat.

  • We have 27 years to preserve the Antarctic.

  • We all own it.

  • We all have responsibility.

  • The fact that nobody owns it maybe means that we can succeed.

  • Antarctica is a moral line in the snow,

  • and on one side of that line we should fight,

  • fight hard for this one beautiful, pristine place left alone on Earth.

  • I know it's possible.

  • We are going to do it.

  • And I'll leave you with these words from Goethe.

  • I've tried to live by them.

  • "If you can do, or dream you can,

  • begin it now,

  • for boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

  • Good luck to you all.

  • Thank you very much.

  • (Applause)

Let's go south.

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B1 UK TED antarctica south pole mum antarctic

【TED】Robert Swan: Let's save the last pristine continent (Robert Swan: Let's save the last pristine continent)

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    CUChou posted on 2015/03/11
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