By Ramesh Mathew
A young Doha-based Indian engineer is working to mobilise funds to realise his dreams of setting foot on the Antarctic continent as part of an expedition led by internationally renowned environmental campaigner Sir Robert Swan.
“The adventure-cum leadership programme which brings together 50 people from over 22 countries, is held with the aim of generating awareness about sustainability and climate change,” Arjun P Kumar said.
The ‘International Antarctic Expedition (IAE) 2014’, is organised by Swan’s 2041 Foundation. It is planned for March next year.
The expedition being held as part of the 2041 Foundation’s “Antarctic Youth Ambassador Programme.”
Kumar, who did his Integrated Masters in Mathematics and Bachelors in Engineering from the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani in 2010, is a former student of Doha’s Ideal Indian School.
Swan is a special envoy to the Unesco Director General and a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Youth.
He was the first person in history to walk to both the North and South Poles and he has dedicated his life to the preservation of the environment in Antarctica. The seasoned campaigner has launched many eye-catching initiatives highlighting the importance of using recycled goods and renewable energy among other issues.
Kumar requires at least $22,000, out of which he has raised $5,000 so far.
The 2041 Foundation is also on a campaign to combat the effects of climatic change.
“Through the expedition, the foundation hopes to provide a firsthand knowledge on Antarctica’s fragile ecosystem, wildlife and landscape, even while highlighting the effects of such a widely deliberated issue as climate change, sustainability and what to do to protect the last great expanse of wilderness on Earth,” Kumar said.
“With Qatar in the forefront of the global campaign on climatic change and being the venue of the last major COP-CMP meeting in November-December last year, the issue that we are highlighting during the expedition requires no introduction to the country’s residents,” said the engineer.
The expedition covers approximately 3,500 nautical miles of ocean and 10 extremely cold nights in the world’s coldest and driest continent.
Kumar said apart from environmental campaigners, influential corporate leaders and sportsmen have also become part of the March 2014 expedition.
Kumar, a Qatar resident since 1994, is an avid traveller, wildlife enthusiast and was a Green Olympiad champion.
As in the previous years, the expedition is expected to be widely covered across the world on global television networks, including the National Geographic channel and Ted Talk.
In the last few years Shell, Coca Cola, nPower, KPMG, BP, Etihad Airways and National Bank of Abu Dhabi patronised the campaigners.
Kumar is expecting similar patronage from various companies in Qatar.