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Coventry man's solo polar expedition for climate change

  • 10-19-2011

Adventurer Mark Wood is training to become the first person to ski alone at both of the earth's Poles consecutively.

The 44-year-old from Coventry is using the 115-day challenge to raise awareness of climate change.

He will fly to Antarctica on 16 November and expects to spend 50 days covering 680 miles to the South Pole.

He will then be picked up by an expedition company and fly to the Arctic.

There, he expects to spend a further 65 days travelling solo across approximately 700 miles of ice to the North Pole.

He will then be collected by a Russian helicopter and flown straight to an environmental conference to discuss climate change action with international companies.

Previous explorers have used skis to reach both geographic poles - the points about which the earth revolves - but no one has succeeded yet in travelling to both consecutively, solo and unsupported.

Mr Wood said: "All my life I've wanted to walk in the footsteps of the great explorers. But thanks to mass destruction of the planet, the paths they mapped no longer exist.

"One hundred and fifteen days is a long time to spend alone with only the ice caps for company. It's going to be tough, not least on my birthday, when I turn 45 in December."

Mr Wood has conquered 10 extreme challenges, from a 70-day Arctic survival expedition which included tests for Cancer Research UK, to being part of the guiding team for the Top Gear 350-mile race to the North Pole in 2007.

'Anyone can pledge'

For the expedition he is using The DoNation online sponsorship platform for backing, not in cash but action.

He said: "Anyone can pledge a carbon-saving action, ranging from eating less meat to installing solar panels."

He has set a target to save 100,000kg of carbon dioxide through pledges.

Mr Wood has also created an educational schools programme in which students can track his progress and speak to him at key milestones on his journey.

He said: "Knowing that I'll be supported by thousands of individuals pledging to make a difference is fantastic.

"Combating climate change is the greatest challenge of our generation and only by acting together can we hope to succeed."

After serving in the army and working as a fire fighter, Mr Wood became a full-time explorer. He regularly returns home to his father in Coventry and has a volunteer role as an ambassador for the city.

It is hoped his expedition will be completed in May 2012.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC


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