For Immediate Release
Singapore, 4 December 2019 - In March 2020, a self-funded team of 10 women coming together under the banner of ‘HER Planet Earth’ - a non-profit organisation headquartered in Singapore dedicated to gender equality and environmental conservation - will attempt the winter crossing of Greenland's Arctic Circle Trail on fatbikes. This is a feat that has never been accomplished by an all-female team before. The objective of this 11-day, 200km pioneering expedition is to raise awareness and funds (a team total of S$50,000) for underprivileged women affected by climate change in the Asia region.
In the past decade, climate related disasters have led to the loss of 700 thousand lives, 1.7 billion people affected and economic losses of USD 1.4 trillion. These effects disproportionately affect women and girls: multiple discriminations mean that women are more vulnerable in crises and post disasters situations. In view of this, the team wants to raise funds for UN Women UK, and their programmes supporting the economic empowerment of women in rural areas of Asia, more specifically, in countries most affected by climate change, such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Nepal.
“Imagine a world where all people have equal rights and opportunities. Women and girls are not afraid of walking home late at night, and men and boys are not trapped in oppressive masculinities. A world in which women have equal say in decisions that affect their lives, their bodies, their policies, and their environment, from villages to cities. In this world, gender equality is the norm. Only with the commitment of activist organisations like HER Planet Earth and its fantastic volunteers can we begin to make this a reality. Now is the time to change the way the world works for women,” said Simon Gallow, Development Director at UN Women UK.
Recent HER Planet Earth expeditions have taken all-female teams to remote islands in the Philippines, to new peaks in Antarctica, to the largest caves in the world in Vietnam and to mountains in Iceland and North Kenya. For this next challenge, the team has chosen Greenland, the world’s largest island and an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, because of growing concerns related to global warming and rising sea levels.
The glaciers of Greenland are contributing to a rise in the global sea level faster than was previously believed and the women want to see for themselves the extent of the ice melt, while also meeting with climate scientists and local Inuit people to better understand the gravity of the situation. The big concern for the future is if the giant ice sheets in Greenland continue to melt, this would raise global sea levels by as much as 7m. While all coastal cities will be affected by rising sea levels, Asian cities will be hit much harder than others given their population, economic activity and landmass. Many of the processes that control sea-level rise are amplified in Asia. As a result, about four out of every five people impacted by sea-level rise by 2050 will live in East or South-east Asia.
The Team’s Journey
The expedition will start in Copenhagen with an expedition briefing. The team will then fly to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. With snowmobile support to transfer bags, the team will then spend six days pedalling from the Russell Glacier to the coast through a variety of terrain including steep hills, rocky outcrops and vast frozen plains and lakes. The daily temperatures are expected to be between -10 and -30 degrees Celsius and on their journey, the women may also encounter polar bears, reindeer, arctic foxes, musk oxen and arctic wolves. Starting with the 60km “pinnacle” leg, the women will progress slowly on the frozen fjord before the track becomes slightly hilly. The subsequent legs at 23 to 37km (per day) are relatively short, but can be quite tough when there is fresh snow.
For this next expedition - HER Planet Earth’s eighth to date - the team has chosen to partner, with UK-based company Secret Compass, founded by ex-British military officers of Her Majesty's Forces Parachute Regiment, who are pioneers in adventurous travel leading expeditions to some of the most remote regions on earth.
“HER Planet Earth’s objective is to inspire people to leave their comfort zones, families and homes for a certain period of time, while pushing their limits in an effort to rally support for a worthy cause. At the core of our culture is a commitment to empowering underprivileged women, a passion for adventure and a deep respect and love of nature. HER Planet Earth seeks to take participants on pioneering expeditions around the world, so that they can make new discoveries, flourish as individuals, but most importantly, contribute to society. By travelling in such challenging conditions, the team hopes to bring international attention to the need for societies, governments and corporations to get involved and help support climate action and women empowerment,” said HER Planet Earth Founder and CEO, Christine Amour-Levar
NOTES TO EDITORS
About HER Planet Earth
HER Planet Earth is a non-profit organisation headquartered in Singapore that aims to empower women as a way to mitigate climate change. One of its core objectives is to inspire more women to become policymakers and agents of change in order to achieve social and economic equity and a healthy and thriving planet. HER Planet Earth organises challenging, often pioneering, and self-funded expeditions around the world to increase awareness on environmental degradation and raise funds for programmes that empower and educate underprivileged women affected by climate change - ultimately helping them build climate change resilience. The organisation partners with nature lovers, environmentalists, scientists, polar explorers, adventurers, women’s rights advocates, corporates, tech entrepreneurs, feminists and charities that have programmes and structures in place dedicated to building a deeper connection between gender equality, genuinely sustainable development and the protection of the environment.
About UN Women UK
UN Women UK is the UK arm of UN Women, the global organisation for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Founded in 2010, UN Women works at every level to create change, from working with governments to change policy and legislation, to empowering business leaders to create inclusive workplaces, to delivering programmes on the ground for women entrepreneurs and survivors of violence. For more information, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Strategic Importance of Greenland
Greenland's strategic importance has also grown amid increased Arctic shipping and international competition for rare minerals. Arctic waters are becoming more navigable because of melting ice, linked to global warming. The vast island is strategically located between North America and Europe, easing deliveries to many markets. Mining is expanding because Greenland's vast ice sheet has been retreating significantly in recent years.
The team of this HER Planet Earth Greenland 2020 Expedition is formed by 10 intrepid women of diverse nationalities and backgrounds. While they are all incredibly well accomplished in their careers, they are equally passionate about protecting the environment and empowering underprivileged women. To read the team bios please click here.
To donate to the mission please visit the team’s fundraising page here.
To see pictures of the team’s journey:
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