Reflections on Antarctica

The 2041 Antarctica Expedition ended last week. Read on for reflections on the trip from Bain expedition members, as well as their favorite photos from the adventure.



Antarctica re-opened my eyes to the wonders of our planet, and reminded me never to lose sight of the marvel of life on Earth.  It was also a reminder that with rights come responsibilities: everyone has a right to clear air, water, a better life, but with that right comes a responsibility to ensure that our attainment of these goals doesn’t preclude the next generation from achieving the same. Time is not on our side, but I really believe that businesses and entrepreneurs, being more nimble than political institutions, will have a pivotal role in shaping the solution to the issues of sustainability.  ‘Waste not, want not’ also makes good business sense, and it is encouraging to see organisations that are starting to take conservation and sustainability seriously in the context of the bottom line.  It is certainly a perspective that I will apply more consciously in my personal and business life from now on.


  1. The last two weeks in Antarctica served as a reminder that there is a world outside of the laptops, the meetings, and our everyday existences; however, a world that is inextricably linked to ours. The deterioration of Antarctica has profound effects on everything that lies north of it – be it through a rise in sea levels or a depletion of marine life throughout the world. Antarctica is a stark indicator of how the world was before humans took over – wild, beautiful, and most importantly, co-existing. One of my favorite quotes from the program: “Earth wasn’t made for humans. We need to stop treating it like it was.”
  2. The long-term cost of arresting climate change is actually not that high. More importantly, a lot of the solutions probably already exist, and might just require some tweaking before large scale implementation. As such, it’s not just a problem for scientists and engineers anymore, but for people in every field. I believe that the long term change needs to be driven by organizations and businesses, rather than governments (who will be viewing all policy with a short-term view till the next election).
  3. Organizations need to start treating the environment as an “economic concern” (which it is, in the long term) rather than a “social concern” so that it doesn’t get pushed lower down the priority chain. When viewed as an economic concern, people will factor in sustainability while making business decisions; when viewed as a social concern, organizations will only get to sustainability after profits have been optimized – at which point there will be limited scope for improvement. This requires a change in mindset, but from the presentations we saw during the expeditions, some organizations are already there.


  1. Antarctica and Patagonia are two of the most incredible places on Earth. Massive, jagged-edged mountains of black granite, still water clear as air, the deep blue hue that only glaciers can hold… This place truly makes one speechless, it also gives you a sense of calm that I’ve not found anywhere else on this planet – a sense of being connected to everything.
  2. People are amazing! Through two weeks of interactions with over 80 incredible people, my faith in humanity (and its infinite potential and inventiveness) has not only been restored but had reached new heights. There was not a single person on that ship who didn’t have a heart full of kindness, a mind full of astounding intelligence, and a spirit full of passion and good intentions.
  3. It is key for each and every one of us to be part of a positive change. In order to do this we must “lead the examined life” but never become negative or pessimists. Three things that Robert Swan taught me in order to be a great leader and a true agent of change: 1) be positive, no one will follow you if you broadcast a negative energy; 2) never lose your sense of naiveté and ingenuity – even when the world pushed you to “grow up,” remember that simple ideas go a long way; and 3) always keep your promises. Finally, after all is said and done: stop thinking too much about it, considering all the options and pitfalls, and get out there – ATTACK!!!

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  1. Pingback: World Environment Day 2014 at the Bain Capability Center | Bain Social Impact Blog

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