It all started with a spur of the moment, where I asked the organizers of several TEDx events if we Young Explorers could give a speech about our expeditions and the Pangaea Project. But the spontaneous idea soon changed into an actual travel to Berlin for me!
After mailing the Youth Board in Berlin I got the response that they liked my idea of presenting the Magnetic North Pole expedition and invited me to come to Berlin as a speaker of the second TEDxYouth taking place in the capital of Germany. You can probably imagine how thrilled I was and still am after this incredible experience!
The event took place in a huge building called “Station”. When I walked in I was stunned by the professionalism! I knew that there were about 200-300 teenagers expected to come but I didn’t expect an immense lounge with couches, group tables for discussions with professional coaches who help you to start your own project or corners to sit down and eat little snacks.
But that was not all – when I walked on through the lounge I came into the plenum where the talks would take place. And again I was positively surprised by the professionalism! A whole crew of technical staff, an awesome stage and all the other speakers who I already got to know the evening before when we met in a bar for a small get-together.
After the sound check and some tips by the moderator who has already coached me on Skype before I came to Berlin, the clock was ticking… soon it was 2pm… I was the third speaker on stage: my excitement was escalating quickly!
Then I stepped onto the stage in my expedition jacket, the hood with the polar bear fur in my face and took the audience onto a virtual expedition to the Arctic. I told them about the feeling of being in an environment of only ice and snow, -30°C, no colors, standing on one meter of ice and beneath your feet 4000 meter of ice cold Arctic Ocean.
I told them about the immense amount of energy you need in such conditions and how small you feel when you’re in the middle of nowhere, only blocks of ice around you.
I told them about the power the Arctic has on us human beings. You have to think about everything, for example packing your sled so that you always know where to find what. Only if the sled is organized you’ll be able to find warmer gloves immediately when you feel your hands getting colder.
And I told them how fast something can go wrong if you miss a something… For the first time I spoke about what happened to my eyes in front of so many people. I never wanted to talk about it because I felt ashamed and guilty.
But in fact this simple example shows us that the Arctic doesn’t forgive any mistakes – neither small nor big ones.
I made the connection to climate change and the rising temperatures especially in the Arctic. How people handle our planet in these times is a much bigger mistake which will have enormous effects on the ecosystem Arctic.
I told the people that exactly this big mistake was the reason why the rest of our team also didn’t reach the Magnetic North Pole because of broken ice and open water. Both situations can be compared and show that the Arctic doesn’t forgive any mistake.
Rounding of my talk I spoke about how all of us can make a difference and contribute to a better future and an endless beauty of ice and snow in the Arctic.
Honestly, this has been one of the best days of my life! Yeees, I’ve been on an expedition to the Magnetic North Pole so most people will ask themselves how a day in Berlin can be compared to that? To talk about your great adventure and see the faces of people changing from smiling, to looks of concern and in the end faces which express that they want to change something and make a difference in our world: it was simply great! Life should always be like this…
- Date: 20/11/11
- Location: Berlin, Germany
- Video of the talk