Inspired by a recent trip to Norway where Katie learned about the effects of global warming on the North Pole and plastics in the Oceans it fired her up to return to the Meaningful Recruitment base and work with others who care about these issues. Katie got in touch with organisations taking positive action and also decided that she wanted to learn from the experts about the reality of what is happening and what we can do.
Katie's path soon crossed with Ann Daniels - polar explorer, world record breaker and leader of 3 Catlin Arctic Surveys. She's one of the first women in history to reach the North and South Poles as part of all women teams. Ann experienced -58C temperatures and has literally been to the very ends of the earth so she has seen it all with her own eyes and been to some of the worlds most magnificent but also inhospitable places. She was described by The Daily Telegraph as one of the top 20 Great British Adventurers of all times. Katie felt so grateful for the opportunity to connect with this brave woman who has worked with NASA and other leading scientists and really does know firsthand 'what is happening'.
Ann shared her views on climate change and gave suggestions of things we can do to make a difference. She talked about her future projects and expeditions that she's involved with along with some core values close to her heart. Her wise words for all generations especially those of school age are inspiring and motivating and hopefully will encourage readers of this interview to take positive action and realise that making simple changes at home is the start of it all - 'we are one big eco system' as Ann mentioned.
What do you feel is in our power to ease climate change and the impact on the frozen Arctic ocean?
It is within everyone’s power to ease climate change. What we do here affects the frozen Arctic Ocean and what happens in the Arctic Ocean affects the whole world. Our rubbish enters the oceans eco system and the ocean’s gyros mean that plastics and other man made materials will flow to every ocean in every corner of the world. The Carbon emissions we put out enters the earths atmosphere and travels to both polar regions. The Arctic is warming at a rate that is almost twice that of global average and as the Arctic Ocean warms and the icecap melts the open water absorbs more heat from the sun which is then transferred back to the rest of the world through the ocean gyros. The water is becoming more acidic because of the vast increase in emissions and is affecting the very bottom of the food chain which in turn has a knock on affect to every marine creature. The North Pole may be at the top of the world and seem like a remote far off place that doesn’t affect the rest of the planet but that couldn’t be more wrong. We are all one eco system. Small changes make a difference, The five minute shower, not using single use plastics, reduce our footprint and speak out.
Do you have any expeditions planned for the near future?
I have just come back from an expedition in the Arctic working with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and The University of Washington. We are all going to a conference in Switzerland to speak about that work and planning to put together a bigger expedition to include other institutions for another project. I have already been approached by ESA (European Space Agency) who want to be involved and we haven’t had our initial meeting yet but am confident we will have many partners. Because of the size of it, I don’t think it will happen until April 2020.
What do you feel passionate about that you want to raise awareness of and are there any organisations that stand out to you as leading the way?
Not surprisingly I feel passionate about the polar regions as that’s where I see most of the damage being done and to our last wild and remote parts of our planet but I also feel passionate about the whole world we live in. Nature everywhere is amazing and we are happily destroying it for our own desires and wants. For me the organisations leading the way tend to be the ones we don’t hear about. The scientists that pledge their life’s work to finding out what’s happening to our planet and what’s causing it. The little people working tirelessly to make a difference. The bigger organisations stand loud and proud if they think their bottom line might benefit. That said I would encourage rather than criticise them when they make a difference. Plastics is a huge problem and so needs to be sorted. Supermarkets need to stop wrapping food in plastic. It’s OK to say that people 'should stop buying it' but there are too many people who can't because of finances or education or they're too worried about providing for their own family, that the environment doesn’t register 'can’t or won’t stop buying wrapped food'. Bigger industries need to make it hard or impossible to buy anything food or goods wrapped in non biodegradable material.
If you had a message for school children what would it be?
You are the future of the world and you can make a difference. Be brave, be strong and always believe in your own abilities. Follow your own path and don’t let anyone make you feel you’re not good enough. Because you are. And don’t buy plastic. It’s toxic.
Do you have a motto / mantra that you live by?
I have many but I guess my most important is to live by my own values and be the best that I can be. Care for the world we live in and the people who I share it with. Everyone matters.
Many thanks to Ann for her time to do this interview.
For more information about Ann go to www.anndaniels.com.
Follow Ann on Twitter @AnnDanielsGB and to watch her showreel click here.