An Australian explorer who led the first Australian expedition to the Arctic, on which he nearly lost his life, is planning his sixth visit, a climate change expedition, to be taken with twelve teams of fourteen year olds chosen from 3.5 million Australian teenagers.

He is Earl de Blonville, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Earl is breaking new ground in attempting to create climate change survivors and leaders for the future. No educational system, or country is attempting this, and he feels that time to do it is closing down. Sir Gustav Nossal is supporting the expedition, as is the shadow treasurer, Malcolm Turnbull.

De Blonville is passionate about this concept for he understands that there are few people on the planet equipped to make decisions about living in extreme weather conditions because there are few cultures who are passing on their skills. “We have no leaders for the conditions that will prevail for the planet in the future,” Earl claims. He says the Inuit have a culture of daily hunting and fishing opportunism, and that their culture lacks sentimentality, the latter being the only attitude by which our species can survive.

The Inuit are aboriginal inhabitants of the North American Arctic and Greenland. On the barely inhabitated east coast of Greenland are the great survivors. They are still a hunting and fishing people and, until very recently, relied on their skills to survive the horrendous Arctic winters where winds are so fierce the village dogs have been strangled on their tethers. De Blonville’s personal belief is that the planet’s climate tipping point has passed us by during our inaction. He believes governments have done little to address climate change.

On a previous expedition De Blonville and his team came close to perishing on Desperation Island. They lived for five days without food, their clothing wet and their kayaks bolted to the rock while 140 mileper hour winds howled over them.

The expedition, to familiarise the teenagers with the survival culture of the Inuit is to be launched this week in Sydney. The expedition will be made in the height of summer in 2009 – although there will be a reconnaissance in May next year – and will include staying with the Innuit, and then travelling to observe the glacial ice melts  with accompanying scientists, obtaining data to establish just how quickly the ice is melting. A recent studying commissioned by the Friends of the Earth, predicts the ice will be melted in 2013. This will entail a sea water rise of an estimated 7 metres.

Over the last year official figures have placed the melt as taking place by 2050 and 2020. De Blonville says no one knows for sure because there is no mathematical model to predict the time frame.

The teenagers will be chosen on their commitment to the planet and their potential leadership capacities. They will be shown how to adapt the results of their observation for survival and learn essential skills like navigation.

Earl is interviewed on YouTube under Earl de Blonville.


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