First Person to Swim UNDER The Antarctic ICE SHEET | Mashable Originals

First Person to Swim UNDER The Antarctic ICE SHEET | Mashable Originals


So when we arrived in
East Antarctica everywhere, we could see these supra-glacial lakes. And these lakes then sometimes develop into rivers, and the rivers carve their way through
the East Antarctica ice sheet. And often they drill deep down, through the ice sheet,
down to the bedrock. And this lubricates the bottom of the ice sheet, making it more unstable. A subglacial river is a river which goes
underneath the Antarctic ice sheet. And so that’s what I, I swam down on. My name is Lewis Pugh,
I’m an endurance swimmer and I’m the United Nations
Patron of the Oceans. In that role, I try to be a voice for the oceans. I’ve never swam anywhere in the world,
which was so beautiful, It’s the most beautiful place
I’ve ever seen in my whole life. I remember standing at the entrance to this tunnel, and it was this turquoise blue tunnel,
and as I started swimming through it, the colors just changed. And this tunnel meandered its way
underneath the ice sheet. It started off a turquoise blue, and then
went to a dark, rich, royal blue, and then went to indigo and then went to violet.
And then suddenly, as I came around another corner, it was this beautiful
electric blue. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was incredibly beautiful, but, you know, behind the beauty is this terrifying reality that this is now the face of this climate change. What we’re seeing is Antarctica is changing. and it’s changing very, very quickly. There have always been
supra-glacial lakes in Antarctica and there’ve always been supra-glacial rivers
and sub-glacial rivers. I think it’s the extent of them that we are
now beginning to understand how many of them there are. When I was down in Antarctica,
wherever I looked, there were supra-glacial lakes and there were rivers. I mean, it was quite shocking to see just how much
water was flowing off the east Antarctic ice sheet. And only yesterday, on the 13th of February, scientists recorded a temperature
of 20°C [68°F], just north of the Antarctic Peninsula. I mean, think about that – 20°C in Antarctica. I mean, I’ve been swimming now for 33 years, so – and in some of the coldest places on Earth. So back in 2007, I did the first swim
across the North Pole, across an open patch of sea, to show the melting of the Arctic sea ice. I’ve done a swim on Mount Everest to highlight
the melting of the glaciers there and the impact that will have
on water supply in Southeast Asia. But I think this swim, certainly,
was the most dangerous As I entered that river, my heart was certainly pounding very, very quickly. And I was relieved, delighted to get out the other side and to see
my team at the other end there as they pulled me out the water. I was absolutely frozen. Normally, when I do my swims in the Arctic
and the Antarctic, I swim as fast as I can. But because I was swimming inside a tunnel, where they had lots of turns, I had to
actually swim quite slowly. When I got out, my fingers were in agony. I mean my fingers were completely frozen, my toes were frozen. It took me a good half an hour
to warm up again after that swim. It’s not something which I’ll be repeating. But I certainly hope that as a result of this swim, we will have three new protected areas in Antarctica. Collectively, I’m hoping there’ll be about
four million square kilometers in extent. That’s double the size of Western Europe,
certainly a price worth paying for. So under international law, 25 nations plus the European Union have got to agree to any measures to protect
the waters around Antarctica. 23 of those nations and the European Union
have agreed to them, just two nations still need persuading –
and that is Russia and China. My message to world leaders is very, very simple. We are now facing a climate emergency. Step up or step aside because time has now run out.

12 Replies to “First Person to Swim UNDER The Antarctic ICE SHEET | Mashable Originals”

  1. IF we are really facing a climate change, this is not due to human activities. Out planet climate has changed a lot of times, this is absolutely normal. Please, stop being ignorant or trying to captilize scaring people's mind. Climate Change is only one more marketing scheme created to rob your money even more through taxes. During the pre Cambrian period the earth had 10x more CO2 and the earth was living in an ice age. This is a really Convinient Lie. Wake up!

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