BSc Marine Geography, 2009
Environmental scientist Daniel Price is on a journey of a lifetime as he cycles from the Antarctic to Paris in a bid to raise awareness for a critical climate deal.
What is Pole to Paris and why is it important?
This year the world will make a choice. We will decide what our future looks like.This December, the United Nations member states will meet and attempt to agree upon a climate deal. They have been trying to secure such a deal for decades and this is the best chance we have to date. The science tells us that if we don't begin to act seriously now we will face significant consequences as we dangerously interfere with our climate system.
It became clear to me last year that nobody really knew about this conference, and most that did, didn't really care. Pole to Paris was born from this realisation. The project will aim to captivate and inspire our generation to raise their voice this year. It involves a journey from the Antarctic, the majority of which will be completed on bicycle, and a journey from the Arctic, the majority of which will be completed on foot. We will showcase the journeys to the public on social media while communicating climate stories in a local context.
We must ensure that we place suitable pressure on our leaders to pursue a positive outcome in Paris.
What inspired you to undertake this project?
I've been studying how the Earth works for a decade. I've closely followed the reception of the science in society and the media and it is very clear that we need as many voices and groups as possible to get the message across – the message that climate change is the most serious of issues and we must begin to address it now. Bridging this gap between science and society is a difficult task and we hope Pole to Paris can play a part in this while also being entertaining to our audience.
What challenges have you encountered so far?
Getting the project off the ground was a significant undertaking. Pulling in sponsors and partners was a difficult task. We received great support from the Hillary Institute in New Zealand, along with my academic department Gateway Antarctica at the University of Canterbury.
The Pole to Paris story falls into two parts, The Northern Run, and The Southern Cycle. I am the cycling from the Antarctic where I carried out fieldwork in November 2014. The Antarctic is an iconic image in the climate change arena; it is a place that we are understanding more every year. It is clear now that this place, if knocked out of kilter by climate change, could have significant implications for the rest of the world. Its giant ice sheets hold enough ice to raise sea level globally by around 60 meters.
This project began on the McMurdo Ice Shelf where we were attempting to improve our understanding of the ice sheets and how these move off the land and into the sea. It was here that I recorded material for this project in order to showcase and highlight the importance of the Antarctic. Upon returning to New Zealand, I spent the summer planning the project. We have managed to secure a partnership with the United Nations Development Program and will be working closely with them over the coming months. We will tell the story of their effort to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the developing world as I cycle through these countries. I'm on the road and have just completed the leg through Australia. The major challenge now is running the project from the road; luckily, Pole to Paris has a fantastic group of people working behind the scenes to get the message out.
How did your study at Cardiff University influence your career journey, leading up to this moment?
My study at Cardiff was eye-opening. I graduated with a BSc in Marine Geography from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences. In the first year, they bombed us with information from every angle - from the depths of the Earth's past, to how the solar system works, to how our weather patterns play out; they really put our place here on this planet in context. Climate change was beginning to become a commonly spoken about issue at this time. With this context and an understanding of how our planet works, I was unable to ignore the problem being presented by the evidence. I have pursued studying it passionately ever since.
How can our alumni support your work both during Pole to Paris and after?
Spread the word to as many people as you can about the importance of Paris. We have a chance to make history the year, let's make sure it is remembered for the right reasons.
To find out more about Pole to Paris, click here.