A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to journey to the Antarctic - no experience required.
Airbnb and Ocean Conservancy have announced the Antarctic Sabbatical, an opportunity for five individuals to travel to Earth's most remote continent and join Antarctic Scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams on a scientific research mission in December.
Antarctic Scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams specialises in investigating the impact of microplastics on polar marine zooplankton. She is earning her PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Exeter in the UK, funded by the NERC GW4+ DTP training program.
The five volunteer citizen scientists will collect snow samples and study the extent to which microplastics have made their way to the interior of Antarctica. By understanding the impact of plastic pollution generated elsewhere in the world, the citizen scientists will deliver insights on how the global community can help protect both Antarctica and the planet.
"Most people think of Antarctica as a pristine and isolated continent, but recent evidence shows that even the most remote locations are affected by plastic pollution. This expedition will help us understand the pathways of microplastics to remote regions such as Antarctica and comes at a critical time to highlight our responsibility to protect our natural world." said Jones-Williams. "This expedition will be hard work, with scientific rigour required during unforgiving wintery conditions. We are looking for passionate individuals, with a sense of global citizenship, who are excited to be a part of the team and to return home and share our findings with the world."
On the month-long expedition, the citizen scientists will:
· Attend an immersion training in Punta Arenas, Chile, where they will prepare themselves with courses on glaciology and field sampling as well as lab work and equipment practice.
· Fly to Antarctica to begin their scientific mission, landing on a naturally formed blue-ice runway deep within the continent where the research will be conducted.
· Collect snow samples from the interior of Antarctica and study them for foreign microfibres to determine how far waste and pollution has travelled across the world.
· Visit the South Pole, where they can walk around the globe in just a few steps.
· Get the chance to explore the beauty of Antarctic sites like the Drake Icefall, Charles Peak Windscoop, and Elephant's Head to learn about the continent's geography.
· Return to Chile where they will continue to study their findings and work with Ocean Conservancy to become ambassadors for protecting the oceans. In this advocacy role, they will deliver insights on how the Airbnb community and others can help minimise their collective plastic footprint to support Ocean Conservancy's mission.
Airbnb has indicated it is committing to be a leader in sustainable travel, and that this partnership reflects this commitment.
The Antarctic Sabbatical follows the Italian Sabbatical, which was an urban regeneration project by Airbnb and Wonder Grottole that offered the opportunity for five volunteers to spend three months living in the historic town of Grottole in southern Italy to help revitalise a community that was facing extinction. The Sabbatical program is designed to inspire people to take advantage of earned time off to give back to the people and places around them for a life-changing experience.
To apply for the Antarctic Sabbatical, visit airbnb.com/sabbatical and complete the application form, terms apply.