First-year Environment and Development student Fabian Nilsson was chosen for a 12-day expedition to the Antarctic, set to take place in November of this year.
The expedition will be led by Robert Swan OBE, a famous British Polar Explorer and the first man to walk unaided to the North and South Poles. It is being organised under Swan’s 2041 Foundation which he founded “after witnessing climate change first hand on his expeditions,” according to Nilsson. Delegates from large institutions such as NASA, Accenture, JP Morgan, Cisco, Coca-Cola, and KPMG have been sent on the expedition in previous years. This year, it will feature 80 other participants from across the globe. Nilsson is the youngest European to be selected for the expedition and the only Norwegian.
Nilsson described the goal of the expedition: “to engage and inspire the next generation of sustainable leaders to tackle climate change and protect the Antarctic.” Crucially, he said, “Antarctica is currently protected from any exploitation by the Antarctic treaty. However, this treaty is under review in 2041 and the 2041 Foundation’s purpose to strive to protect Antarctica by inspiring youth, policy, and action to protect the Antarctic from exploitation and climate change and make sure by 2041 it is not going to be exploited for its resources.”
Nilsson’s own inspiration for going on the expedition comes from a deep desire for people to understand the threat to Antarctica. He wants “to add some reality to climate change, make it feel [closer] to home. Because it’s too easy to disconnect from.” After his return, Nilsson plans to put on a series of lectures and workshops and write articles to share what he learned and how people can make a difference in tackling climate change.
Nilsson also told The Beaver that he looks forward to exploring the landscapes of Antarctica, sailing past huge icebergs and observing the unique wildlife while gaining an understanding of the fragile ecosystem. At some point in the twelve-day journey, he hopes to dive into freezing Antarctic waters in swim shorts, which Nilsson described as “the polar plunge.”
Nilsson had originally been studying Accounting and Finance at LSE, but he “became restless and down because [his] degree was so different to what [his] passions were.” He then decided to re-enter first year as an Environment and Development student with the ultimate goal of creating a carbon capture business. He plans to fund his journey through a combination of crowdfunding and corporate sponsors.