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Wind-chill factors of minus 40 degrees. The blinding “white darkness” of white-out conditions. Hundreds of miles of uninhabitable wildnerness between the expedition and their objective. These are some of the challenges that faced Robert Swan and his team as they conducted their unsupported, human-powered expedition across Antarctica.
““It’s like being a fog, it’s almost impossible to explain what the white darkness is about, the whiteout,” said Swan. “There isn’t really much fun, at all, walking to the South Pole. But getting into your sleeping bag at night is, without a doubt, the best part of the day, by far.”
The expedition used Gevo renewable fuels for cooking and melting snow for drinking water. “It’s really cold,” Swan says. “Without energy we die. So what’s absolutely key is to get the stove that’s running on renewable fuels, to get it going. It’s got to go.”
Barney Swan, founder of ClimateForce, is Robert’s son, and he pointed out the efforts of the expedition that ensured its carbon-neutrality:
Robert Swan said of his previous expedition in the Arctic, “To walk across a melting ocean of ice is without doubt the most frightening thing that has ever happened to me. A thousand kilometers away from the safety of land, disaster strikes, the arctic ocean melts beneath our feet four months before it ever has in history. 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.”
“In our world, we’re in a survival situation, too,” Swan said. “We’re now at 405 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, things are getting worse, not better. We need to get Gevo’s jet fuel, transportation fuel, and high-protein animal feed to scale.”