Polar Defence Project Flag

  • Award Entered:
    Sport for the Environment Award
  • Parent Organisation:
    English Channel Swimming Assocaition
  • Project Host Nation:
    UK and Norway
  • Overview of Project:
    In 2007 Lewis Gordon Pugh undertook the first long distance swim across the Geographic North Pole, across an open patch of sea, to highlight the dramatic melting of the Arctic sea ice. Over the preceding two years 23% of Arctic sea ice had melted away. The 1km swim, undertaken in just a Speedo in water of minus 1.7 degrees C, took nearly 20 minutes to complete and attracted worldwide media attention to the issue. Last year Robbie Hegedus and Lewis kayaked from Spitsbergen into the Arctic sea ice to raise awareness about the continued decrease in the ice and call for a moratorium on offshore drilling for oil and gas, analogous to the environmental laws which protect Antarctica. When they got to the furthest north point they planted the flags of 192 nations, to symbolize that all 6,6 billion of us own the wilderness and all our futures will be sealed if the Arctic melt continues. They were also able to report first hand on the extent of the melting of the sea ice. North of the Island of Spitsbergen the sea ice had decreased in depth from 3 metres to 1 metre over a period of just 15 months.

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