Introducing the North Pole Expedition Team
This weekend, a team of 16 explorers is going to the North Pole to declare it protected on behalf of all life on Earth. Backed by millions, they will plant a flag for the future on the seabed and call for a sanctuary in the uninhabited area around the pole.
All our young ambassadors have a different connection to what’s happening in the Arctic, either living in the region or facing the consequences of rising sea levels, super storms and other extreme weather patterns around the world.
Ezra is an actor, musician and activist from New Jersey, USA. At only 20 years old, he is the youngest member of Team Aurora. Ezra starred as Kevin in the critically acclaimed film We Need to Talk About Kevin, opposite Tilda Swinton, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination for the British Independent Film Awards, and in his most recent film, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Ezra starred opposite Emma Watson as “Patrick”.
A passionate musician, when he is not acting, Ezra tours with his band ‘Sons of an Illustrious Father’ and last year he contributed to the Great Sioux nations successful Save Pe’Sla campaign, a global effort to preserve one of their most sacred sites in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Ezra is excited (and also terrified) about going to the north pole.
Renny Bijoux is 30 years old and a youth ambassador from the Seychelles. He has just begun his second term as chairman of the youth wing of the ruling Lepep Party, and is also an Application Manager at a local company. He graduated the best of his class in BSc Computer information systems; he now waits to start his master course in September 2013. Renny is a former athlete and an Indian Ocean island games silver-medal-winning triple jumper. He is a tenor in the Mahe Chamber Choir (MCC). Renny is popularly known as ‘Kastor’, a stage name he got while acting the main role in a musical play that traces slavery and how the first Seychellois was born in the early 19th century, performed by MCC.
He is passionate about technology, cars and of course the environment. He believes that to protect our future and our further development we must also protect the globe we live on. He speaks Creole, English, French and Russian. He believes that going to the north pole to stand on top of the world and support this Greenpeace battle is surely a quest worth fulfilling for his country and the world.
Josefina is 26 years old and lives in village of about 50 people on the coast of northern Sweden. She is a member of the sami community, the northernmost Indigenous Peoples in Europe.
Studying law at Umeå University, she has been active in sami politics since she was 19, and is the vice leader of the Jakt-och Fiskesamerna party, which represents the hunting and fishing sami. This is the largest party in the sami parliament in sweden. She is working on land and water protection, the right of indigenous children to their language and all children to a good school with the possibility to eliminate differences due to class. She was also the first person in the sami parliament to raise the issue of LGBTQ-persons rights and make sure that the sami parliament officially joined the pride parade 2011.
Josefina has a siamese cat and likes to do traditional handicraft, watch movies, hang out with friends and do a thousand other things.
Kiera-Dawn Kolson is a Tso’Tine-Gwich’in youth from Denendeh in the Northwest Territories, Canada. She is engaged in the protection of her traditional territory, culture and identity from industrial propositions for future generations and hopes to educate and empower others through her work.
She is a multi-disciplinary artist and motivational speaker, singer/songwriter/spoken word, facilitator/emcee and is developing her acting/modeling skills. Her objective is to educate and empower people through her passions and experiences. Kiera’s goal is to work with under-privileged youth as well as national and international groups and organizations to learn and use knowledge gained to create new solutions and memories in the minds of our children. She believes in environmental justice and the preservation of her ancestral lands for future generations.
Eric Philips is the president of the International Polar Guides Association and one of the world’s leading polar guides. As well as traversing Greenland, Spitsbergen and Ellesmere Island, Eric has skied from Russia to the North Pole and from the North Pole to Canada. Eric has journeyed to the South Pole five times, traversing Antarctica from the coast to the south pole three times. Eric has worked as a polar guide on Greenpeace’s Climate Impacts expedition to Greenland, and lives in Hobart, Australia where he operates his North and South Pole guiding company, Icetrek Expeditions.
Talking about this expedition Eric says: “There’s something mystical about the Arctic Ocean and in particular the North Pole. Perhaps it’s because every day of travel on its skin is different than the last. Perhaps it’s the fact that all lines of longitude, passing under the feet of every person on the planet, converge at this point. It’s a symbol not only of humanity but of wilderness, remoteness and now, climate change. In the space of a decade I’ve seen the state of the Arctic ice take a downward turn. My back yard is dwindling but it’s a global issue that we can all have a say in, take action against. There’s something mystical about the Arctic Ocean; let’s keep it that way.”
Luda is a Russian mountaineer and wilderness guide with over 25 ascents of Mount Elbrus, considered by many as Europe’s highest mountain. She also has the ascents of 70 other summits around the world, to her credit. Luda is the third Russian woman to climb Mount Everest, the first Russian woman to complete the 7 Summits and is currently participating in a record to complete the 7 Summits in 300 days. She has guided many expeditions to the North and South Poles as well as numerous trek and climbs all around the world.
Audun is a Norwegian adventurer, guide and photographer. He has worked as a whitewater river guide and, since moving to Spitsbergen, as a snowmobiling guide and dog-musher. Audun was a crew-member on board the yacht Tara, spending 10 months on board as she drifted across the entire Arctic Ocean, as part of her expedition which demonstrated the reality of global warming. Together with his adventuring companion Timo, Audun crossed Greenland by ski, and in 2012 completed a unique ski and kayak expedition from the North Pole to his home town, Longyearbyen.
Sol Guy’s passion is to connect art and activism, and live what he loves has taken him on a unique creative journey. It has given him the opportunity to work closely with some of the highest profile artists of our time, such as Lauryn Hill, B.I.G., Cameron Diaz, Joaquin Phoenix, Outkast, K’naan and more.
Moreover, this journey has provided him with many roles throughout his career from his early days as a rapper in the legendary Canadian Hip Hop group The Rascalz to a TV host, film producer, artist manager and social entrepreneur.In 2008, Sol was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. In 2012 he added the title of author to his repertoire co-writing the Double Day published Children’s Book “When I get Older”.
As host, producer and co-creator of the groundbreaking TV series 4REAL. Sol took celebrity guests around the world to connect with young leaders who under extreme circumstances are revolutionizing their communities.
Much of Sol’s work has focused on inspiring youth, and as such he presents to them at schools, universities and events as a motivational speaker. His current projects include an HBO feature-length documentary on French artist JR and a new TV series entitled The Talent Show.
James is the head of communications for Greenpeace’s Arctic campaign, and is taking part in this expedition as a spokesperson. His previous Arctic experience involves building snowmen and once hurting his finger while sledging. James was once a BBC radio newsreader and a TV producer.
Since joining Greenpeace he has worked on ships in the Brazilian Amazon, on top of the Bank of England during the global financial crisis, and in Los Angeles choosing color shades for Barbie’s spandex leggings as part of a campaign against Mattel. He believes that tackling climate change is the great challenge of our generation, as well as a huge opportunity for young people to create a better world around us.
Gavin has been working with Greenpeace for many years, and is an experienced BBC cameraman who has worked on many iconic series including Planet Earth, Wild China and Human Planet. He is a technical specialist with ROV’s, Drop cams, and dive related imagery.
He also has an UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) which he is currently flying in huge underground caves in Borneo for filming purposes. Cave filming work for the BBC’s iconic ‘Planet Earth’ series led to an ‘Award of Excellence’ from the Guild of Television Cameramen. Work on ‘Wild China’ another BBC series included both underground and surface filming and led to the television equivalent of an Oscar with an EMMY award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for Best Cinematography in a Natural History Documentary or Series.
Gavin is constructing the camera and lighting array for the time capsule and flag that will go to the seabed, as well as working out how to successfully complete the drop itself.
Christian Aslund is a Swedish photographer, based in Stockholm. Christian is as a photojournalist working for newspapers, magazines and NGOs, documenting a variety of armed conflicts, environmental and social issues. He has been working together with Greenpeace since 1998, when he documented a forest campaign in Sweden. His favourite place on the planet is Svalbard, where he has been a numerous times.
Since 1992, Jim Surette’s career as a DP and camera operator has led him to shoot television programs for all the major networks, as well as feature documentaries, and commercials. From Mount Everest to Antarctica, Jim has operated cameras in the world’s most extreme environments, keeping up with world-class athletes to get his shot. He has worked as a camera operator for Discovery Channel’s hit show, The Deadliest Catch; National Geographic Explorer’s Surviving Everest; NBC’s Great Trango: A Mile High in Pakistan; and Matchstick Production’s Claim, filming extreme skiing in the Alps.
In 2010, Jim partnered with pro-skier Chris Davenport to produce the independent adventure film Australis: An Antarctic Ski Odyssey. Jim is a native of the Mount Washington Valley, New Hampshire, where he learned an appreciation for the mountains at an early age. Jim was on skis by the age of 4, and climbing waterfall ice by 14. While still a teenager, Jim established what was then the hardest technical rock climb in New England, with his historic first-ascent of Cathedral Ledge’s Liquid Sky.
Adam has been an actions and logistics coordinator for most of his 12 years with Greenpeace. His work has seen him taking action all over the world from Alaska to Tasmania. Before joining Greenpeace he spent many years in industrial rope access and rigging – including aerial work on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympics, for the film industry and in construction. He also worked several years as an arborist and a sailor.
Most recently Adam has coordinated the making of our time capsule and the plan for placing it on the North Pole.
Gianluca Morini, known as Gionny and originally from Italy, is 39 years old and has been radio operator for Greenpeace ships for the last 12 years. He now resides in Australia when he’s not riding the high seas, helping to protect our oceans.
Gionny was supposed to be taking a sabbatical in April, but couldn’t resist the call of duty when he heard the team needed technical communications support at the north pole, and he now can’t wait to walk across the ice, and do his bit to protect the Arctic.
Ulvar has worked for Greenpeace Nordic with logistics for the last 12 years. He has been concerned with environmental issues all his grown up life, and between jobs he has always been engaged actively in environmental campaigns. He grew up cross country skiing and has undoubtedly the Greenpeace record for longest skiing in a day, approximately 180 km.
His job has brought him both to Northern Alaska and Greenland, and his skills under extreme cold conditions is a great asset to the team. He is known among his colleagues and friends as the human equivalent of a Leatherman tool, and there are few other people you would like to have by your side on a trip like this. His nick name Mr. Fixit is well earned.
Martin has spent more time outdoors than indoors. For over ten years he worked as a ski trainer, glacier guide, rafting guide – anything that could give him a good excuse to enjoy the outdoors. He has worked for Greenpeace Nordic for the last ten years, mostly on climate and energy issues.
His engagement in trying to get Statoil to pull out of Canadian tar sands has given him few friends in the state owned oil company, but many friends in the First Nations communities in Alberta. He is also one of maybe 400,000 people in the world that speaks Icelandic, and is therefore also responsible for Greenpeace work in Iceland.