Press Centre

‘Team Zayed’ Heads to Antarctica


Team Zayed with H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak and Dr. Jane Goodall.jpg

Abu Dhabi, February 5, 2018: On February 23, three Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) employees will fly to Usuhaia at the bottom of South America, and board a ship, the Ocean Endeavour, to voyage to Antarctica, as part of the ClimateForce International Antarctic Expedition 2018. The team, aptly named Team Zayed, to mark The Year of Zayed, will join teams from over 20 countries for two weeks to learn about climate change and witness first-hand the impact of global warming on the continent. They will also take part in the renowned Leadership on the Edge Programme, run by polar explorer Sir Robert Swan, who was the first person to walk to both the North Pole and the South Pole.

Team Zayed will include Mariam Al Qassimi, a communication's specialist who also coordinates the Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots programme in the UAE; Rashed Al Zaabi, a Mammologist whose work includes responding to wildlife emergencies, inspecting zoos and monitoring and assessing mammals in the wild; and Winston Cowie, EAD's marine policy manager who has authored books, produced documentaries and who most recently represented the UAE at the World Cup Rugby Qualifiers in Malaysia. The team will be embarking on a very physically demanding voyage, which will see them endure freezing temperatures and crossing the Drake Passage, considered one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world. Updates on Team Zayed's journey will be available on EAD's social media channels.

In parallel to the team embarking on this journey, EAD, in collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute, and polar explorer Sir Robert Swan's organisation ClimateForce 2041, recently launched the ClimateForce Challenge. Open to all students in the UAE, the challenge encourages them to reduce their carbon footprint and keep a diary for one month documenting their everyday resource use and environmental behavioural change efforts. Excerpts of the winners' diary will be included in a film and book that Team Zayed aims to produce upon their return.

"Climate Change is the challenge of our time and a key part of the solution is to continue to raise awareness about the impact of global warming. We are confident that Team Zayed will return from their voyage having experienced something special and having gained knowledge and experience from some of the best environmental specialists in the world. This team was carefully selected for their passion and their positive contributions to the agency. We wish them our best and safe passage," said H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD Secretary General.

"Climate change is caused by us humans, and our often unsustainable life styles – we are using up the natural resources of the planet too fast. They will not last for ever if we continue behaving as we are. Already people, as well as animals and their habitats, are being harmed, especially the very poor. I am so pleased to learn that Roots & Shoots is taking part in the Abu Dhabi's Climate Force Challenge.  Please do join this programme. Think about what you can do each day to make the world better.  And when millions of people make good decisions every day, even small ones – what you buy, eat, wear and so on - this will create huge change. It is also very fitting that the team going to Antarctica has been named to commemorate the 100th year since Sheikh Zayed's birth - Team Zayed.  How proud and honoured he would be. I am inspired by the team going to Antarctica, Rashed, Winston and Mariam. I know that their work will have a lasting impact on the way the people of the UAE - and further afield – view the world," said Dr. Jane Goodall, (DBE), Jane Goodall Institute Founder and United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Schools or individuals wishing to participate in the ClimateForce Challenge are encouraged to visit for further information. 


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