Antarctica: Airbnb is offering an opportunity for a select group of environmentalists and volunteer researchers to apply for a free, four-week research expedition to Antarctica and monitor the state of the environment.
The all-expense paid trip, known as ‘The Antarctic Sabbatical’, is available for five people to analyse the extent to which micro plastics are having an impact on the region. Throughout December, the researchers will be trained in laboratory work in Chile, collect snow samples in Antarctica, climb glaciers and visit the South Pole.
Scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams will be tasked with training and guiding the volunteer researchers throughout the trip and she says the goal of the programme is to create more global ambassadors that can warn of the dangers of pollution and other environmental threats.
Speaking to The Associated Press, Jones-Williams said: “The science itself that we’re doing isn’t enough. Actually, one of the biggest threats to our sort of natural environment isn’t necessarily the lack of information that we have, but it’s more the disenfranchisement that can occur with policymakers and apathy and eco-fatigue.
“One of the main things is to get a bunch of people that can take the messages that we learn back to their respective countries,” she added.
This represents the second trip of Airbnb’s sabbatical programme, after selecting five applicants to live in Grottole in Southern Italy for three months earlier this year, who were asked to promote the town and preserve its way of life due to the threat of its existence being at stake.
The volunteers need not have a scientific background to be accepted onto the Antarctica trip but they must prove that they have a passion for environmental matters and that they are able to complete a number of physical tasks, including collecting snow samples, climbing glaciers and coping with ice-cold temperatures.
Jones-Williams said: “It is hard to work in cold environments, so people that perhaps work well under pressure, work well when they’re tired, that’s actually quite key and to actually ask questions. People that are really hungry to get as much as they can out of this experience.
“It’s really people that respect the scientific process,” she added.
During their time in Chile, the researchers will stay in Airbnbs for roughly a fortnight before moving onto a camp that has been provided by Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions in Antarctica for one week.
Airbnb is partnering with Ocean Conservancy to use the research for advocate changes to governments’ environmental policies around the world.
For more information, visit the Airbnb website here.