Blog from Antarctica: A trace

When you look back on your life, or on a project, there’s one thing most people generally want. It’s to leave a trace. To leave a footprint, planted into the world, with a clear print of what you’ve done.

Not necessarily egocentrically, but if it’s not leaving a trace, what is the impact it’s making, really? Out here in Antarctica, on an expedition trying to inspire people to rethink waste, we are discussing this question a lot.

That has two reasons. We're not on track. Not even very close. In our effort to reach the South Pole, the thing we are working for is fighting against us. In our efforts to preserve nature, it is also nature that is showing her strong side, and keeping us from making miles. We don’t mind, because the pole is just a place, it never really was the goal. The goal was to drive across Antarctica in a plastic car powered by the sun, inspire people and leave a trace.

But visibly, we’re not. Wind washes our beautiful tracks away, immediately. They get washed out by nature. And that’s the second reason. We loved seeing these tracks, so soft, and high on the ground. But the fact they get washed away, also made us realize something.

After we got disappointed, we felt empowered. At the same time that the goal of the expedition is to inspire and leave a trace, it is also to leave no trace at all. It is to lower our footprint on nature. To try and not stamp our feet so deep into what nature has created, that it’s unable to recover. To not ruin what nature has spent so long creating. And most importantly, to inspire others to do the same.

That’s the kind of trace we want to be leaving. Not a trace that nature needs to restore, but a trace that helps restore nature. And that’s the kind of trace we hope to be leaving with the world, through our expedition.

When we come back from Antarctica soon, and the years to come afterwards, we want to look back, not on the miles we’ve crossed, but on the impact we’ve made. And that’s where you come in. Because we don’t mind if nature washes out our tracks on Antarctica, or keeps us from reaching a point on the map. We do however mind if you - reading this in the comfort of your home, at work, or traveling – don’t do all you can to help create this trace. We do mind if you don’t do all you can to get even a little bit uncomfortable, to change some actions and behaviors, and inspire others to do the same.

In our efforts to leave no footprint, we have to leave a trace. Not in nature, but in people. And this is a trace we have to create, together.

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