Two young Omani men are literally freezing themselves in order to prepare for the next 2041 Antarctic Youth Ambassador Programme.
Founded by Gemma Borgo-Caratti and Swati Hingorani, AYAP is a two week Antarctic expedition that transforms passionate environmentalists into informed advocates of renewable energy generation in their home countries. Trouble is, these boys aren’t used to subzero temperatures, so they have embarked on a training program that will make your teeth chatter!
Bader Al Lawati, 26, returned from the University of Wollongong in Australia with a Bachelors of Commerce and a passion for the outdoors, and 23 year old Ameer Abdulhussain is a self-described martial arts and video gaming geek who is currently working on Oman Power and Water Procurement Company’s Solar Project.
They are two of just 30 participants handpicked across the globe to both represent and in return educate residents of their respective countries about the myriad threats posed by global warming and subsequent climate change.
Albeit adventurous types who have paragraph-long dare lists, neither of them have spent much time coping with temperatures lower than zero degrees, much less doing rigorous exercise in those conditions.
Which is why they hang out in a freezer. A training accessory funded by one of the team’s sponsors, Enhance, the freezer helps the young men acclimate their bodies to exceptionally low temperatures. They’re also receiving specialized gear from Columbia to ensure maximum health and safety during their journey.
At the onset of their conditioning, the pair only managed to spend a few moments in the freezer. Now they conduct long interviews with a local radio station – inside the pseudo Antarctic environment!
In 2012, two Masdar students were among a talented group of young people selected to attend the expedition, which involves learning about the Antarctic’s fragile ecosystem, unique wildlife and landscape, as well as renewable energy.
By exposing young and motivated people to the icy peninsular, the AYAP program creates leaders among the global youth whose mandate is to reverse the rise of carbon dioxide emissions in our atmosphere. Even as we race towards a catastrophic concentration of 450 parts per million, most scientists agree that 350 ppm is the highest atmospheric concentration of CO2 that is conducive to comfort on earth.
The Freezing Omanis as they call themselves were both educated abroad. Abdulhussain, or code name Penguin, studied computer engineering in Cyprus before falling into the OPWP position. He will be the youngest person from Oman to visit Antarctica.
Snowflake or Al Lawait calls himself a “domesticated wild man” who has wiled away many days searching for the next adrenaline rush, but he also has a slightly more introspective side. Since 2004, he has pursued a passion for scuba diving, which has fostered a deep connection to nature, though his favorite underwater escapes have since been altered due to a host of environmental and social factors.
Motivated for different reasons but equally passionate, the duo are using the lead-up to the expedition as an opportunity to make other Omanis aware of the increasingly dangerous affects of climate change.
But the real fun will happen when they’re actually out on ice.
The AYAP expedition begins on 28 Februrary (61 days according to the duo’s chirpy blog, at time of writing) and ends on March 13, 2013. Follow the Freezing Omanis on their Facebook page – if you like.