Team Zayed sends a message in Antarctica with solar lights
A spectactular Zayed Solar Lights Show had lit up the Antarctic night using 100 solar lights, sending a message of unity, hope and action on climate change.
The show was done by Team Zayed, comprising employees representing the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) and anthropologist Dr Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots programme. Named Team Zayed to mark the Year of Zayed, the team is part of the Climate Force International Antarctic Expedition that is currently on board the Ocean Endeavour for two weeks.
Along with teams from over 20 countries, they are learning about climate change and are witnessing first-hand the impact of global warming on Antarctica. The expedition, led by Sir Robert Swan, the first explorer to walk to the North and South poles, ended on March 12.
Braving the freezing conditions and in an act of gratitude to the UAE leadership, Team Zayed wrote - in solar lights - the names of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The team also wrote the names of notable inspirational personalities in the UAE, namely Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, and Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent, the 27-year old serviceman who was recently given a hero's welcome home after being injured in Yemen during the UAE's effort to combat Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.
"Alongside other passionate environmentalists from around the world on this international expedition, we wanted to send a unified message in solar lights from Antarctica, a message of change. Global warming and plastics are the environmental challenges of our time. We need to stop, think, and act to come together and change our unsustainable lifestyles," said Mariam Al Qassimi, communications Specialist at EAD and a member of Team Zayed.
"We used 100 solar panels, purchased from a company that won the Zayed Future Energy Prize in 2015 and in a symbolic display of unity, we stood side by side with 20 other nationalities and sent a message to the world. The message was: 'Hi World - from Antarctica. Please listen: climate change and plastics are our challenge. Let's change. All of us. Individuals and countries. Stop. Think. Act. Energise. Be the Change. #ClimateForce," said Rashed Al Zaabi, Mammology scientist at the EAD and a Team Zayed member.
Winston Cowie, marine policy manager at the EAD, said: "As we lit up the Antarctic night, one of our colleagues on the expedition, Inch Chua from Singapore, a talented musician, sang our message in the Antarctic night. We could hear whales surfacing as we sung, in union. It was one of those incredible unforgettable moments when time stood still."
Sir Robert Swan said: "Team Zayed has done a wonderful job in bringing everybody together for the Zayed Solar Lights Show in this display of unity and in this message of action. We are all ClimateForce Ambassadors, and we hope this message that we have sent to the world results in action - the time for the inconvenient truth is over, the time for the convenient solution is here."
Following the show, Team Zayed gifted each of the 100 solar lights to their colleagues on the voyage, a celebration of the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed and his environmental stewardship.
"These special lights that lit up the Antarctic sky will now travel to all parts of the world, igniting change and action," said Cowie.
Team Zayed crossed the treacherous Drake Passage from the Antarctic Peninsula, en route back to the UAE after a life-changing mission for all of them. - Wam