In 2023, Felicity will be continuing her leadership of the B.I.G. (Before It’s Gone) North Pole expedition, a long-term project to collect material for crucial Arctic Ocean sea ice research. Her first journey to Antarctica was to monitor climate and ozone as a Meteorologist with the British Antarctic Survey when she was posted to Rothera Research Station for a continuous period of two and a half years from 2000 to 2003, including two consecutive winters. The experience forged her ongoing passion for the polar regions. Her research is now based at the National Oceanography Centre and University of Southampton in the UK investigating airborne microplastic pollution on polar sea ice.
Felicity has published five books about exploration and her expeditions, co-presented two BBC documentaries, and been featured in top news outlets including National Geographic, Vanity Fair, and Marie Claire. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London and The Explorers Club in New York and is an elected member of the Society of Women Geographers. She has been appointed MBE for services to exploration as well as awarded the Polar Medal (Arctic and Antarctic) by Queen Elizabeth II.
When it comes to educating young people today on climate change and the impact it is having, Felicity is concerned that the real messages are getting lost in the negativity. “Speaking at a lot of schools on Antarctica and the effects of climate change, the messages coming out of every classroom are that of doom and gloom, that it is up to tomorrow’s generation to fix it.” She notes it is a worrying trend by many students of “why bother, if it’s already gone too far.” “We need to be messaging it in a completely new way talking about the positives achieved through research and science.”
She argues if something as big and influential such as the Antarctic Treaty can be passed in times gone by, then climate change is not out of reach. “Setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishing freedom of scientific investigations and bans on military activity on the continent was a big deal. The issue of climate change needs to be combated. The ozone hole depletion was largely successfully curbed and the problem of carbon emissions not untameable. The key here is we need to adapt and stop arguing whether it is or is not happening. We need to progress to a stage where we are looking at what we can do and educating young people about how they can make a difference.”
Alone in Antarctica
In 2012 Felicity became the first woman in the world to ski across Antarctica alone. The 1084-mile journey took her 59 days skiing unaccompanied through a monotonous and hostile landscape. Describing her record-making expedition she reveals - with astonishing honesty - the fear, the doubt and the loneliness of the experience, reflecting issues many of us face on a daily basis. Felicity examines the sources of motivation that drove her forward day after day and talks about the importance of perseverance, sharing with her audience ways to cultivate this most vital of qualities when vulnerable and under pressure. Through her thought-provoking, highly relevant and often poignant talk, Felicity provides an insight into recognizing and developing the innate resilience within us all.
Call of the White
It is not unusual in today’s world for a team to be scattered over multiple timezones, incorporating a variety of cultures, levels of expertise and systems of work. How do you manage such diversity effectively? Felicity answers this question in her account of selecting, training and leading a team of women from countries as contrasting as Jamaica, Brunei Darussalam, Cyprus and New Zealand to ski to the South Pole in 2009. Many of the women had not spent a night in a tent or seen snow before joining the team. With refreshing insight Felicity presents a compelling story of adventure as well as a valuable perspective on modern leadership and dynamic team management.
How can you prepare for what you don’t know is coming? In April 2018 Felicity led a novice team of ten women recruited from across the Middle East and Europe on a ski expedition across the fractured and constantly shifting sea ice of the Arctic Ocean to reach the Geographic North Pole - the top of the world. Complete with exhilarating photography and film footage, this thrilling account of the team’s experiences on the ice and during the more than two years of preparation, explores risk management, decision-making and adaptive leadership in a fast and high-stakes environment; an environment in which the only certainty is change.
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