“It has a profound impact on anyone who is privileged to have visited it. How can one not come away inspired? More than any other place on earth you leave with an emotional connection.”
“The facts we discovered on our trip are not good. A temperature rise of 6 degrees Celsius in the winter since 1950 in the Antarctica peninsula. Loss of 140 days of ice cover. 80% of peninsula glaciers in retreat. Ice shelves disintegrating.”
Despite the negative outlook of the science, Sir Richard recalls the global community’s success fighting the issues of acid rain, CFCs and the protection of whales.
“Why not climate change?” he asks before posing his own answer.
“The problem with climate change is that the vested interest has such huge financial resources that it is difficult to get the public (particularly in America) to see behind such huge propaganda.”
“Over time Mother Nature will make things clearer but by then the damage will be severe and many of our species will have disappeared,” Branson wrote.
“The science is clear. Government policies must catch up with the science.”
The entrepreneur’s concern for climate change is not a new one.
In 2007 the Virgin CEO created the Virgin Earth Challenge (VEC), offering a purse of $25 million to any person or organisation that could create a technology that viably sequesters CO2 from the atmosphere.
The VEC received over 2600 submissions and in November 2011 announced a shortlist of organisations that Virgin would be working with to develop their technologies.
In 2008, Branson hosted a mini climate change summit on his private island for some of the world’s most influential people, including former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Sir Richard’s willingness to put his money where his mouth is has, at least, inspired one young person - his son, Sam.
Joining his father on the Antarctica voyage Sir Richard reports that “My son Sam, says: ‘Young people should start Occupy World Street’.”
“[Sam] feels that this movement should be built at breakneck speed. Global warming is by far the greatest threat our youth faces and they should not allow governments to continue to ignore it. He feels young people should hold our governments accountable,” the elder Branson blogs.
“Gandhi and Mandela showed what is possible. Young people in North Africa have shown the difference they too can make.”
“It is movements like this that will save the continent of Antarctica – so our grandchildren can visit them and enjoy the breath-taking beauty of it.”
Photo sourced from http://www.zimbio.com