Climate Change
in Antarctica




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Save the Beyond winners go to Antarctica

In 2019, PROMASTER marked its 30-year anniversary as the watch for explorers who love the challenges and wonders of nature. CITIZEN launched “Save the Beyond,” a year-long campaign to celebrate sustainability’s unsung heroes, people who work tirelessly to protect the wildest and most beautiful places in the world.

The “POST your PROMASTER” contest, which got PROMASTER fans from all over the world to share the campaign and their passion for the brand, was one key element of that campaign. Four PROMASTER users won the chance to visit the Antarctic with legendary polar adventurer and expedition guide Eric Larsen from February 7 to February 17, 2020. The idea was for them to get first-hand experience of life in the “beyond”; to see how climate change is impacting even the remotest places on the planet; and to share that valuable experience with their community and their friends.

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New Antarctic temperature record
set in February 2020

One key goal of the Save the Beyond campaign was to highlight the way in which the natural environment has degraded over the last 30 years, with even the most remote places being affected. Nothing is having a greater negative impact on the planet than man-made climate change. January 2020 was the warmest January ever recorded globally, and on Sunday February 9, 2020—while the PROMASTER expedition members were actually in Antarctica—temperatures just off the Antarctic Peninsula exceeded 20 Celsius for the first time ever. Climate change is everywhere.



I became a dad in Antarctica

José Güiza Tezna, Colombia (37)

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I’m an RPA programmer. I like hiking, cycling, and nature generally. This expedition was a challenge. I went to a destination I hadn’t planned in the midst of many life changes: my wife was about to have a baby and I’d just got a new job. Nonetheless, I took this opportunity. The best part of the expedition was celebrating the birth of my new daughter in Antarctica with champagne. In the middle of so much ice there was a lot of human warmth.

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Our actions at home are reflected here in the poles

All our actions must begin within ourselves and our families. We need to think if we really need everything that we want, and how those things will impact the environment. My experience in the Save the Beyond expedition has made me reflect on the importance of supporting my 10-year-old son's dream to become a biologist and help save animals and plants. From now on, I will make decisions with greater environmental awareness and try, for example, to travel more by bicycle than I do now. I will also make an effort to sensitise people about how our everyday actions impact the environment. Our actions at home are reflected here in the poles.

— José Güiza Tezna, participant

I felt reborn and I saw
the world anew

Christian Steinmetz, Germany (42)

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This expedition was not just about me leaving a footprint on all the continents, it was also a great way of stepping out of my comfort zone and reconnecting with myself. The untouched wildlife and the icy landscapes will never fade from my memory. This expedition took me back to basics. It cleared my mind: I felt reborn and able to see the world anew.

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The Antarctic: an ever-changing museum

The Antarctic is a wonderful place; it surprised me every day. Being in the ice is like exploring a museum of contemporary art, a museum that changes minute by minute. The close encounters we had with wildlife were absolutely mind-changing. I never dreamed I could get that close to penguins, seals, whales or even birds. They are curious by nature and don’t see us as predators. They are something we need and have to protect. Believe me, Antarctica is a place you have to see with your own eyes. There is simply no way a photo or video can replace the real experience.

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It was a spiritual experience

When I returned home, I realised that my priorities had shifted. It is time to protect our world. It is time to make a change. Through this expedition I learned that I can make an impact: an impact that will make the world a better place. It is one thing to talk about the issues but another to think and act. This Antarctica expedition helped me realise how fortunate I am. It has motivated me to think of protecting the environment both locally and globally, for us now and for future generations. When I am asked about this unforgettable expedition, ordinary words can't do the experience justice. Now I answer with one simple word: Spiritual.

— Christian Steinmetz, participant

I fulfilled a long-held dream

Richard Fairbrother, Australia (47)

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I'm a project manager but in my free time I love hiking, camping and travelling to wilderness areas. The expedition was the realisation of a long-held dream for me. I've wanted to visit Antarctica for a very long time. The most memorable thing for me was our last shore landing. I took some time for myself, put down my camera, and focused all my attention on simply being in Antarctica—to lock that moment into my heart.

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We need to protect the wild places

What impact did the exhibition have on me and my thinking? It reminded me very clearly of the need to protect and preserve our planet and those few places that are still truly wild. From now on, I'll work harder to live my daily life in a more sustainable way. And I'll continue to teach my young daughter about the fragility and beauty of our natural world, in the hope she and her generation can appreciate it like I have been privileged to.

— Richard Fairbrother, participant

Getting to explore the seventh continent was my dream

Ryan Lau, Malaysia (32)

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I’m from Borneo in Malaysia. I’m an explorer with wanderlust; I love jungle trekking and mountain hiking. Getting to explore the seventh continent was truly a dream come true.

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The whole expedition was amazing

It was definitely the trip of a lifetime for me! The crossing of the Drake Passage was rough and I got sick. Overall, though, the whole expedition was amazing and met all my expectations and more. The first view of an iceberg floating past the ship was magical. I particularly enjoyed seeing penguins, seals and whales in their natural environment. In the future, I think I will be more conscious and aware of the consequences of my actions on the environment.

— Ryan Lau, participant



A veteran to lead the expedition

Eric Larsen, United States (49)

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I’ve done a variety of expeditions in Antarctica. My first expedition was in 2008, when I led a team of five people to the South Pole from the Filchner Ice Shelf. We covered 915 kilometres and it took us 43 days. In 2009, I skied with two other people the 1,130 kilometres from Hercules Inlet at the edge of the continent to the South Pole in 48 days. I've also led two other 'Last Degree' South Pole expeditions where we skied from the 89th parallel to the 90th parallel, a distance of 110 kilometres. That’s about seven days of skiing time but roughly three weeks of total logistics. I've also done two other world-record expedition attempts that ended in failure: a 2012 attempt to bicycle to the South Pole and a 2019 speed-record attempt to ski to the South Pole.

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The South Pole connects us all

Parts of Antarctica are experiencing warming at a rate nearly five times that of the rest of the planet. The ice of Antarctica is an important component of a healthy planet, so we need to act now to reduce our carbon emissions. The lines of longitude all begin at the South Pole; from there they stretch out and touch everyone on the planet. The South Pole is remote but it connects us all. As 21st century explorers, our job is not to conquer places, but to protect them.

— Eric Larsen, expedition leader

The Save the Beyond Expedition was an opportunity for four PROMASTER users from around the world to see with their own eyes the impact that climate change is having even on the wildest and remotest parts of the earth, and to get a hands-on sense of the important work that people like expedition leader Eric Larsen and other heroes of sustainability are doing every day to “save the beyond.”

Quark Expeditions played a key supporting role in this Save the Beyond tour. With decades of experience taking travellers to the Arctic and the Antarctic, Quark Expeditions is a company with a deep commitment to sustainability that believes in going beyond the realm of the familiar.