Small Steps in Antarctica and Working towards Big Changes

Patana SchoolIt’s thirty degrees outside and the sun is shining but as you walk through Bangkok Patana School you can’t help but feel a slight chill as you pass the many penguins, icebergs and snowy scenes adorning every display. You also can’t help but notice the buzz rippling through the campus as March 2017 approaches, the month that two members of this community are venturing off to Antarctica to accompany polar explorer Robert Swan in his 2041 mission.

For those unfamiliar with 2041, this is the year that the treaty that protects the last great wilderness on earth, Antarctica, expires leaving it vulnerable to exploitation. Robert Swan, the first man to walk to both poles unassisted, has dedicated his adult life to raising awareness of this plight and the terrible effect climate change is having on Antarctica whilst inspiring people to consider the small impact that they have on this faraway continent.

Bangkok Patana have joined Robert’s mission for a number of reasons. Firstly, as an already environmentally conPatanascious school with students dedicated to taking small steps to positive change, taking on such a gargantuan adventure felt natural. We pride ourselves on creating responsible global citizens, this project simply emphasises the global. Robert told us when he visited in October 2016 that “you can’t all do everything, but you can do your 1%” – Bangkok Patana 2041 is our 1%. And lastly, as Swan said, “If Antarctica continues to melt, we will swim.” And here in Bangkok we would be some of the first, making the Antarctic’s problem, our problem.

Our Antarctica expedition representatives, Rebecca, a Year 10 student and Helen, Assistant Secondary Principal, want to be the pebbles that start the ripples. They want to inspire and engage us with their journey and educate us about what they learn on it. Judging by the children queuing to have their photograph taken with the giant papier mache penguins in the Library or the students spending their break time making their ‘penguin pledges’, the ripple has begun, we just need to ensure it turns into a wave.

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