Antarctica. One of the last great wildernesses on earth and a destination that many think they wouldn’t reach even in their wildest dreams. But it’s shrinking – in 2017 sea ice was recorded at an all time low due to rising sea temperatures and in June 2018 traces of microplastics were found in samples taken from the shoreline and in 2019 a huge chunk of the ice shelf broke away, displacing an entire colony of emperor penguins. It’s time we all started caring about our planet, but how can we when for many of us, we will never get to see somewhere like this with our own eyes? Never get to have a close encounter with a wild penguin, see a whale breach or step foot on pristine land where no one has trodden before us.
Looking through history both recent and ancient, the ones who get to go the places like Antarctica on expedition are the privileged few. That’s where Dwayne Fields and Phoebe Smith come in. Known for their solo escapades they, both feeling under-represented in the adventure world and in the media (as non-upper class, and as a woman and a black man), have decided to team up together to show that anyone – from any background, sex or race – can make their wildest dreams come true.
This is why in November 2020 they are going to complete a world first in Antarctica. They will walk from Beckner Island’s colony of emperor penguins to the South Pole, unsupported and unassisted. Why start at the emperor penguins colony? First and foremost no one ever does this - but as they’re doing this to highlight the plight of the wildlife in increasingly difficult conditions caused by climate change how could they not? Secondly in Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s account of the Scott expedition of the Antarctic in 1910 The Worst Journey in the World, he wrote: “I do not believe anybody on Earth has it worse than an Emperor penguin”. In the natural world he may be right, but that’s why these hardy penguins are the perfect emblem for the Penguins to Pole expedition - a creature that, against all odds, manages to overcome all obstacles and get the job done.
But there’s more. They’re not doing this just to show they can, they have a greater dream to fulfil. They intend to take a group of under-privileged young people to Antarctica in 2021 on a specially chartered expedition ship through their #WeTwo Foundation. For more info and updates check out www.TeamWeTwo.com