From Asia to Antarctica: Eco-Business joins expedition to uncover climate change threats

For the first time ever, Eco-Business embarks on an expedition to Antarctica to uncover how warming temperatures are altering fragile ecosystems there, and how this could endanger Asia.

As Asia Pacific braces for worsening climate change threats, Eco-Business, the region’s leading news organisation for sustainable development, clean tech, and responsible business, joins an expedition to Antarctica to document first-hand how ecosystems there are changing fast in the face of rising temperatures, and how this could have a negative domino-effect on vulnerable cities in Asia.

Along with 80 global changemakers, Eco-Business founder and managing editor, Jessica Cheam, will embark on the two-week journey which departs Singapore on February 25 and returns on March 14.

The expedition, dubbed “Climate Force: Antarctica 2018,” will be led by renowned environmentalist and explorer O.B.E Robert Swan, the first man to walk to both North and South Poles.

Cheam is joining the expedition as a prize she won in a competition organised by Singapore real estate developer City Developments Limited (CDL) called  E-Generation Challenge 2017 last November, organised in partnership with social enterprise Global Green Economic Forum (GGEF).

More than 100 young professionals from Singapore participated in the challenge, which involved writing a 3,000-word essay on proposed solutions to climate change. Finalists also had to deliver a 20-minute presentation to a panel of distinguished judges from the sustainability sector.

Climate change is not an abstract concept but a reality confronting millions of people today.

Jessica Cheam, founder and managing editor, Eco-Business

“It is a huge honour to have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the most pristine, last wilderness on the planet. It is visibly suffering the effects of climate change, and though it may be too remote a location for most people, what’s happening in Antarctica has a very real impact on our lives and societies,” said Cheam, who founded Eco-Business in 2009.  

Esther An, chief sustainability officer, CDL, said: “CDL has been a long-time advocate of sustainability and climate action for more than two decades and this is reflected in our business operations as well as community outreach initiatives like the CDL E-Generation Challenge, which we have run for the past eight years.”

“CDL is proud to support Jessica’s expedition to Antarctica. We look forward to seeing the exciting climate solutions and new perspectives on the issue that will emerge from this journey,” An added.

Christina Lee, founder and chief executive officer, GGEF, said: “GGEF believes that women and the youth have immense untapped potential to deliver actionable solutions to climate change. We are proud to support outstanding young people like Jessica Cheam, to join the International Antarctic Expedition.”

Cheam, who was formerly environmental and political correspondent at Singaporean national daily The Straits Times, has been documenting the impact of climate change for a decade.

“I’ve witnessed how it affects businesses, societies and individuals around the world. It’s not an abstract concept but a reality confronting millions of people today,” she said.

Eco-Business also launched Changing Course,  a visual storytelling campaign on climate change, which will topbill an independent short documentary that Cheam will produce in partnership with filmmaker Fraser Morton about the impact of climate change in Antarctica’s wild, untouched landscape.

The documentary will be screened at the Changing Course exhibit to be held from June 1 to July 12 in Singapore. The exhibition will also feature a photo collection from the expedition and will be open to the public.

Going beyond the exhibition, Jessica and Fraser are also separately producing a documentary with Asian broadcaster Channel NewsAsia on climate change, told for the first time through an Asian lens. More details will be announced later this year.

Eco-Business is also launching a global photography competition, where winners will get a chance to see their works displayed at the Changing Course exhibition.

To join the competition, interested individuals can send in photographs documenting climate impacts or solutions in their community, or upload them on Instagram with the tag #changingcourse. Three photos and three Instagram posts will be chosen for the exhibition.

“There is no shortage of solutions to the climate crisis—these range from renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure to more sustainable diets and consumption—but these solutions are not being scaled up fast enough… In Antarctica, I hope to chronicle the impact of climate change from a different perspective, and tell stories that will inspire change,” said Cheam.

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