South of Everything

We are currently in the Drake. Conditions are relatively calm, although the swell has gradually been increasing since we entered the passage last night. I am getting used to swaggering my way around the ship. The shower this morning was a new experience and there were a few incidents of sliding chairs at the lunch table. Apart from that, things are calm. We are riding on the front of a depression behind us, so I am told it should remain relatively calm. Of course, all that could change.

Breakfast was at 8 this morning, followed by a morning session with our respective teams. My team’s discussion on the theme of leadership took a step back and looked at the broader concepts in order to delve deeper in the context of global challenges. My contribution to the discussion is to frame leadership on two levels; an evolving dynamic of collaborative work on the macro level, and an attribute of the individual on the micro level, a mindset and a set of competencies.

This afternoon I attended a session on energy in China and the challenges there. To put this in context, china’s annual growth in demand for energy is larger than total annual UK energy consumption. Given the research intensity that is going on in China right now, I wonder how soon it will be before China overtakes the developed world in terms of technology and energy efficiency. This is major opportunity for the developing world. What would happen if countries like China and India turned the traditional focus on technology transfer from the developed world on its head, and became the pioneers of energy technology in a new economy? It’s ambitious I know, but the discussion certainly needs to be framed in the context of drivers. Developed world countries are driven by the need for energy conservation, developing world countries are driven by the need for energy efficiency and economic growth. We can’t be realistic about hitting meaningful targets without the developing world on-side, and we can’t bring the developing world on-side without a means of addressing the energy-growth paradox.

A long way from home

A long way from home

I’ve just returned to my cabin after a briefing session on the Zodiac boats we will use to explore the Antarctic peninsular. The swell has just picked up. A wave just blew over onto the cabin windows. I am eager to go back on deck after I finish writing this. I have found my favourite place in the whole of the ship; an overhanging platform on the port side of the bridge. I stood there for half an hour today transfixed by the empty horizon. No land in sight, just sea and sky and a pair of Cape Petrel. Something that seems quite profound to my mind is how far south of everything I am. I stood on the platform with my back to the world. Everything I know is north of here. I’ve left all that behind. The Akademik Ioffe is the last ship of the season to venture this far South, so the only people south of here now will be the scientists and researchers who have setup camp on Antarctica for the winter. We are transporting food supplies for one such contingent. No other ships will come out this way for a few months, which leaves the entire region free for us to explore unabated. What a place to be. I’m off for further ocean gazing on the top deck.


0 Responses to “South of Everything”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Latest Photos

Latest bookmarks


%d bloggers like this: