Guwahati, Oct 8 (IANS) A conservationist from Assam Monday revealed that he has been invited to Antarctica as part of a 15-day International Antarctic Expedition 2013.
Rituraj Phukan, a conservationist and secretary general of the Green Guard Nature organization, was selected by the legendary Robert Swan and his organisation 2041, who has been leading an expedition to Antarctica every year since 2003.
Swan, the first person to walk to both the North Pole and South Pole, had already taken about 640 people to Antarctica during his expeditions since 2003. Among the visitors have been academicians, industrialists, environmentalists, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers and young students from various corners of the globe.
The objective of the expedition is to raise global awareness about global warming, climate change and have a first-hand experience of how Antarctica - the last great wilderness on earth - has been changing due to global warming, one of the biggest challenges of the century before the humanity.
"I have to reach Ushuaia in Argentina, the southernmost city in the world Feb 28," said a happy Rituraj while speaking to the media Monday in Guwahati and said that being a part of Robert Swan's team was a dream come true.
The young conservationist has been mainly working on wildlife conservation, environment conservation, environment education and awareness generation, uplift of forest dwellers, documentation of biodiversity and other related subjects at Green Guard, which is headquartered at Nagaon district, located about 115 km from Assam's main city, Guwahati.
"Since 2003, Robert Swan and his 2041 have taken selected people to gain first hand knowledge of the continent's fragile ecosystem, experience its unique wildlife, the effect of global warming and climate change and how they can be countered by promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability. I am also the first person from the northeast region of India to be invited to participate in the respected expedition," Phukan said.
The total cost of the expedition will be $20,000, Phukan said and added he is in touch with several organisations for some sponsorship of the event. "I have to deposit an amount of $5,000 before Oct 15, which will confirm my participation," he said, adding that the rest $15,000 will have to be deposited Dec 1 this year.
"I am preparing myself as physical fitness is one of the most important criteria to take part in an expedition to Antarctica," said Phukan, who had also done a course on basic mountaineering and climbed up to 17,000 feet.
"It's a prestigious expedition and I hope that there will be organisations in Assam who will come forward to support me," he said.