On March 22, 2018 HER Planet Earth and '100 Women Doing Good' co-organised an event entitled 'Women in Exploration' in celebration of International Women's Day. The event, held a the ParkRoyal on Pickering Singapore, was sponsored by Philanthropist Brian Gillies, VP of Globaleye Financial Advisory, and aimed to raise awareness and funds for charities focused on Climate Action and Women Empowerment.
Lisa Montford, Events Director for 100 Women Doing Good shared “The overall aim of our events is to increase awareness of local charities, whilst raising funds for their vital work, and making meaningful connections, not only with the charities but with all the great women who take the time to come out and show their support. Most importantly, we want to establish a better understanding of the reality of vulnerable people in Singapore and in the region and help make a positive impact on their lives.”
The event beneficiaries were charities that champion underprivileged and abused women as well as environmental conservation initiatives. The non-profit entities that were invited and highlighted on the night were:
A passionate supporter of empowering women for a healthier planet, Christine Amour-Levar, Founder of HER Planet Earth, stated "We organise challenging self-funded expeditions around the world to raise awareness and funds for underprivileged women affected by climate change. This is because women are among the most vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation. While climate change is a global phenomenon, its effects are felt locally, and poor people suffer the most. Among the world’s 1.3 billion poor people, the majority are women."
All in all the event raised over 17,000 SGD for the charities present. This is in addition to the 15,000 SGD raise by HER Planet Earth's Antarctic team via their recent climbing expedition to the frozen continent.
In January 2018, HER Planet Earth's self-funded team of six women from Asia, Europe, Africa and North America successfully claimed the first ascent of two unnamed mountains in Antarctica’s Heritage Range. The mountains were named ‘Mount Gaia’ - ‘Gaia' is ancient Greek for the Goddess Earth - and ‘Mount Malala’ in honour of the Nobel Peace prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, who embodies courage and women empowerment in the face of injustice.
The women chose Antarctica because it is a powerful symbol of what is happening to the environment since it is also fighting for its own survival. In fact, Antarctica, the world’s largest desert, which is 98% covered in ice, is melting at an alarming rate. The continent is losing large chunks of ice the size of cities from its coastline as a result of global warming, and when these icebergs melt and increase sea levels, this could have catastrophic consequences for our planet.
A short film about their expedition was premiered at the Women in Exploration event. You can watch the clip below:
By Christine Amour-Levar
The 33m-long Swiss research vessel Fleur de Passion, an old German World War II navy minesweeper which has been disarmed and redesigned for scientific research, reached Singapore on March 13, 2018 and docked at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club.
The vessel and its crew are on a four-year Ocean Mapping Expedition around the world, retracing the footsteps of Ferdinand Magellan, measuring the impact of humans on the oceans and raising awareness for sustainable development - a project led by by Geneva-based Fondation Pacifique.
Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who set sail from Seville, Spain in 1519 and embarked on a voyage, which became the first recorded circumnavigation of the Earth. His arrival in Cebu, Philippines in 1521, would eventually lead to the Spanish colonisation of the Philippine Islands. Like Magellan, the research team set sail from Seville, Spain in April 2015 and hopes complete the journey by August 2019.
Working mainly with the authorities of the Swiss City-State of Geneva, the Ocean Mapping Expedition offers various educational and cultural programmes to the public.
Some of the scientific activities featured on the ship included the following:
20,000 Sounds Under the Seas
The 20,000 Sounds Under the Seas programme in partnership with biologist and engineer Dr Michel André records the sounds of the sea to assess noise pollution produced by human activity. "Marine noise pollution is recognized today as one of the greatest disrupters of marine ecosystems that threaten the natural balance of the oceans", said Dr André. "This pollution is little known to the general public because it is invisible and inaudible, at least for human ears,” he explained.
The Micromégas programme with the Federal Polytechnic University of Lausanne involves taking seawater samples at the ocean surface to evaluate the level of plastic pollution. The expedition also encourages education initiatives such as The Youth at Sea educational programme, which invites young people to stay on-board Fleur de Passion for up to two months to experience life at sea as full-time crew members. Over 34 teenagers have participated in the programme since 2015.
As part of an arts initiative, the ship also offers the Magellan’s Mirror cultural programme which invites cartoonists from Switzerland and other parts of the world to come aboard the ship and create illustrations to explain the expedition's mission and its programmes to a wider audience.
The Winds of Change
The Winds of Change programme, in partnership with the University of Geneva, launched in December 2017 in Mactan, Philippines. It monitors the methane and carbon dioxide levels in the oceans in order to better understand global warming. "Methane and carbon dioxide concentrations clearly rise near cities, approaching islands and shallow seas, in other words in areas that are influenced by human activities or experience higher algal growth", said Prof. Daniel McGinnis, Head of the Aquatic Physics Group at the University of Geneva and responsible of the programme on the expedition.
Established in 2007, the Fondation Pacifique has been carrying out educational, cultural, and scientific expeditions in order to help understand the human impact on the ocean. Fleur de Passion’s voyage can be tracked on their website and updates can found on their Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The sailboat departs Singapore on March 25, 2018 before heading to Jakarta, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa, where she is expected to arrive in Durban then Cape Town by the end of the year.