Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ben Saunders skis to the North Pole - Ben Saunders

TED talk
Ben Saunders skis to the North Pole - Ben Saunders
Rating: ****

One thing that Ben Saunders does not lack is the ability to take a risk. Whether that risk is a smart one or not is the gamble he takes each time he decides to go on another adventure. In this case, his spontaneity took him to the deep cold of the North Pole. This of course wasn’t his first trip in a frigid environment and would definitely not be his last.

Due to various difficulties such as polar bears, food shortage, frost bite, etc. his first attempt to reach the North Pole on skis with a partner was ended early, leaving him with a deep feeling of failure. In order to redeem himself, he decided he was going to be the fourth person to ski to the North Pole solo. To challenge him further, he wanted to be the first person to travel on skis from Russia to Canada via the Arctic. Saunders was faced with many obstacles such as melting ice due to global warming, but most of all, the shifting of the ice. He would travel miles a day and end up 3 miles behind where he originally started! During all this, he updated his blog daily with pictures and descriptions of his daily encounters. Despite all the setbacks, he finally made it to the North Pole on May 11 2004 with nothing to show except a picture of the coordinates on his GPS phone. One thing he did comment on was how amazing it was to literally have the whole planet revolving beneath his feet. Unfortunately, he did not make it all the way to Canada because of all the melted ice, and had to be flown out by plane. Although he did not reach Canada, he is still accomplished being the youngest person to ski solo to the North Pole. In addition, he intends to make a similar trip while skiing to the South Pole and back to the coast with a partner.

Saunders is a man with a lot of drive to do whatever it is his heart is set out to do. He believes that most people in society today only “scratch the surface of potential”, and he urges people to go deeper and see what they can pull off. I find his ambition truly inspiring, considering how difficult it can be to follow your dreams. As well, I think it is important that someone is taking the initiative to personally experience exactly how much global warming is affecting the poles, which brings awareness to the public as his story becomes more and more popular.

I recommend this TED talk to others if they enjoy taking risks. I think that people need to be reminded that it’s okay and important to take risks sometimes. Without risk, nothing would ever be accomplished in the world we live in today.

Ben Saunders skis to the North Pole. Ben Saunders. TED Ideas worth spreading. Filmed Feb 2005. Posted Oct 2006.
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