by Suparna Mathur
“Travel is not a reward for working. It’s an education for living”.
This June, I am thrilled to be embarking on the ClimateForce 2019 expedition to the Arctic with Robert Swan’s Leadership on the Edgeprogram. My journey north this June is part of a longer life-long journey of social change spanning the world.
I attribute much of my personal and professional trajectory to the seeds of community service. My passion for volunteering began early as a 9-year old at the American Community School (ACS) of Abu Dhabi and has rooted my inherent beliefs in the transformative power of hope and human kindness, despite a world that often tries to tell us otherwise. Volunteering by its very act is inspired by imagining a better version of the world we live in. Any time we choose to act for change, we transcend our differences and embrace our common purpose to build safer and more harmonious communities.
As an ambassador for the Roots & Shoots program in the UAE, I have had the pleasure of meeting young activists from elementary schools to local environmentalists all the way to renowned global leaders such as Dame Jane Goodall, Robert Swan, Celine Cousteau and Tara Golshan. Each of these individuals has inspired my journey and invigorated my commitment to environmental education, sustainability action and combating climate change.
Our world is amidst a climate crisis. Robert Swan’s call to action to everyone is that “the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” In 2017, Rob said to me, “we need you on this trip” and this year, I know that I need this trip. While I am blessed to have a purposeful career, I am finding my professional work keeps me more and more connected to devices and increasingly disconnected from nature. Through this expedition, I hope to feel more rooted, grounded and grateful for the resources of this planet and most importantly – walk away feeling more armed to tackle one of the most urgent needs of our very existence.