Børge Ousland is one of the world's foremost polar explorers. Along with Vincent Colliard, he is aiming to ski the 20 largest glaciers in the world.
You’re one the world’s foremost polar explorers. Over your career, has the significance or purpose of exploration evolved for you?
It is still adventure, but since we are definitely moving in the wrong direction and not taking care of nature as we should, I use my expeditions to speak up for preservation.
What is your thinking behind the Ice Legacy Project? What are the aims?
The aim is to show what is happening with the world glaciers. They are melting at a fast rate. If we just continue as usual we can already this century expect up to a one-meter sea-level rise.
Why do you think skiing the icecaps is well suited to these aims?
It is one way to get the message across. I believe in the bridge between science and adventure. Science tells us the numbers; we go out there and show what it looks like.
As a society we have lots of information, data and stories about the impact of climate change, but behaviour and policy change is still sadly very slow. Beyond relaying data and stories, how else do you hope to contribute to change in your work?
We have a lot of practical expedition experience, and the idealistic idea is to inspire others to use nature, believing that this is also a way to learn to take care of it. If you live detached from nature it is harder to be emotionally connected to what is happening.
In recent years how have you seen the culture of (polar) exploration changing to respond to current social and environmental issues?
There has definitely been a chance and more focus on environmental issues. Climate change is naturally a main topic, since it is in the polar regions we can already see huge changes. But it is also an increased focus on mental borders, where overcoming something in yourself is a part of it all.