Barney Swan got his adventurer and environmentalist’s genes from his father- Robert Swan. Robert was the first man to walk to both the South and North poles.Barney Swan came back to Antarctica, to break another record: to reach both the poles using entirely renewable resources, from food to using just solar energy, with an exception under extreme weather conditions to use an advanced biofuel made out of wood chip waste.
On January 15, 2018, Robert & Barney Swan reached the South Geographic Pole. Their mission to conduct a polar expedition entirely on renewable energy was an extraordinary success. They have shown to the world that we can all live off of Renewable Energy and that the outlook for the future of this planet is brighter than ever.
Barney’s story in his own words:
“It began on July the 6th, next to Regent’s Park, in a Central London Hospital. I was raised next to the River Thames and up on the windy moors of Yorkshire. Aged 7, my mother Nicky Swan and I moved to off-grid Far North Queensland, Australia. The school route consisted of spotting crocodiles from the cable ferry, and dodging Cassowaries. Being raised off grid taught me at a young age how valuable energy is. Whether it be not using a fan at night in fear of the batteries exploding or running out of gas in the middle of a cyclone – it was instilled in me that basic infrastructure should not be taken for granted.
These days I call the Sierra Nevada foothills in California basecamp. Over the past 4 years living in an alpine wonderland and the Bay Area, I have been working side by side with my father, Robert Swan, managing 2041’s expeditions and ventures. Navigating the complexities of operating a business next to the relentless, almost impossible force, that is my father has come with many lessons, not all of them easy. It is safe to say the so-called Art of the work/life balance, is tested when your home, office, father, and business partner are all under the same roof.
Our collective efforts through both SPEC The South Pole Energy Challenge ,a 1000 kilometer journey surviving solely off renewable technologies, and The ClimateForce Challenge a 7 year goal to clean up 326 million tonnes of C02 before the year 2025, lay the context for my ambitions to give back more then take. Through all of the moments, stories, and conversations I have experienced throughout the 7 continents that have defined me, I feel an overburdening guilt. The packaging, airplanes, and infrastructure that has been required to make this journey possible comes at a cost. This accumulated cost over 7.5 billion humans is setting in motion a future for our planet that keeps me up at night.
Understanding the micro and macro effects that my lifestyle has on the ecosystem around me has inspired me to focus on being apart of stimulating convenient solutions, instead of an inconvenient truth. Whether it be planting millions of trees in South Korea, investing in ClimeWorks technology that is filtering C02 out of the air, or simply picking up some garbage in a park, I am determined to be involved with acts, instead of just words, that tangibly contribute to a more sustainable tomorrow.
The 60-day expedition to the South Pole powered off renewable energy will take everything out of me, and the team. However, it is our stern belief that we must be an active part of the clean energy transition that is happening globally: instead of just talking about it. The deeper this project engulfs me, the more I realize cleaning up after yourself is not easy. It comes at a sacrifice. My end goal, if I ever make it to having grey hair, is that I can look back and know we collectively cleaned up our environment before it was too late ⇔ or at the least, know I was part of a group of people who tried”.
(Source: BarneySwan.com )
Through SPEC (The South Pole Energy Challenge) Barneys aim to give companies, schools, and individuals the tools to make viable changes in the way they understand and use energy.
Measurable solutions include:
Install solar, wind, and/or geothermal infrastructure in home or business.
Modify lifestyle/ diet to reduce waste.
Support alternative transport technologies: hydrogen, electric, or hybrid.
Demand green energy from utilities.
Invest in clean energy.
Engage in local and national energy policy.
Advance carbon offsetting, reduction, and cleanup technologies.
For more details on their project, click here.