Wanted: Five Volunteers to Join Scientific
Research Mission to Antarctica
Airbnb and Ocean Conservancy are looking for
five passionate individuals to travel to earth's most remote
continent and join Antarctic Scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams on a
first-of-its-kind scientific research mission.
The five volunteer citizen scientists will
collect snow samples and study the extent to which microplastics
have made their way to the interior of Antarctica.
The goal of the
Antarctic Sabbatical is to bring greater awareness to humans'
impact on the climate in one of the world's least understood and
most isolated ecosystems
By understanding the impact of plastic
pollution generated elsewhere in the world, the citizen scientists
will deliver insights on how the global community can help protect
both Antarctica and the planet.
"Most people think of Antarctica as a pristine
and isolated continent, but recent evidence shows that even the
most remote locations are affected by plastic pollution. This
expedition will help us understand the pathways of microplastics
to remote regions such as Antarctica and comes at a critical time
to highlight our responsibility to protect our natural world,"
said Jones-Williams. "This expedition will be hard work, with
scientific rigour required during unforgiving wintery conditions.
We are looking for passionate individuals, with a sense of global
citizenship, who are excited to be a part of the team and to
return home and share our findings with the world."
On the month-long expedition, the citizen
- Attend an immersion training in Punta Arenas,
Chile, where they will prepare themselves with courses on
glaciology and field sampling as well as lab work and equipment
- Fly to Antarctica to begin their scientific
mission, landing on a naturally formed blue-ice runway deep within
the continent where the research will be conducted.
- Collect snow samples from the interior of
Antarctica and study them for foreign microfibers to determine how
far waste and pollution has traveled across the world.
- Visit the South Pole, where they can walk
around the globe in just a few steps.
- Get the chance to explore the beauty of
Antarctic sites like the Drake Icefall, Charles Peak Windscoop,
and Elephant's Head to learn about the continent's geography.
- Return to Chile where they will continue to
study their findings and work with Ocean Conservancy to become
ambassadors for protecting the oceans. In this advocacy role, they
will deliver insights on how the Airbnb community and others can
help minimize their collective plastic footprint to support Ocean
"Partnering with Airbnb on the Antarctic
Sabbatical is an incredible opportunity to continue our fight
against ocean plastic and raise awareness of this issue," said
Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy. "Through our annual
International Coastal Cleanup, where volunteers not only collect
trash from beaches and waterways around the world but also log
every item in our global database, Ocean Conservancy has a long
history of working with citizen scientists, and we look forward to
applying the results of this expedition to global solutions."
The Airbnb community values healthy travel,
including the 64 percent of guests who chose Airbnb in 2018
because they value that it is an environmentally sustainable
travel option that makes the most of spare space in people's
- Since August 2018, Airbnb has seen more than 5
million guests check in at eco-friendly listings on the platform.
- 88 percent of Airbnb hosts around the world
incorporate green practices into hosting, such as using green
cleaning products, providing recycling, encouraging guests to use
public transportation, and installing solar panels.
- Guests on Airbnb are also exploring the
variety of Experiences that both benefit the planet and introduce
them to local experts and advocates in environmental
sustainability, as the company has seen bookings for eco-friendly
and sustainable Experiences increase by 196 percent over the past
"Together with Ocean Conservancy, we are
highlighting the problem of microplastics to encourage a global
audience to give great thought to the consequences of how we live
and take collective action," said Chris Lehane, Senior Vice
President of Global Policy and Communications of Airbnb. "While
Airbnb is inherently more eco-friendly than other forms of travel
given that people are using spaces already built, we need to
continue to find ways for the platform to contribute to reducing
the impact of humans on the environment. There is far more we need
to do and will be looking to do as we go forward."
Candidates must be over 18, available to travel to Chile and
Antarctica for a month from November to December 2019 to conduct
volunteer work as citizen scientists and be able to speak
conversational English. The final selection of five citizen
scientists will be announced on 30 October 2019.
The sabbatical is open to residents in the following countries and regions: Argentina,
Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China,
Denmark, Dubai, France, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, Hong Kong,
Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and US.
You can read about all the terms and conditions
and apply to join the Antarctic Sabbatical on the Airbnb
website. Applications must be submitted before 23:59 EDT on 8