- Female leadership against climate change
We are supporting the expedition of 80 scientists from 35 countries to Antarctica, where they will study the effects of climate change on the ground, with the aim of designing research that will contribute to mitigating it.
Before boarding their vessel at Ushuaia (Argentina) on 31 December 2018, the participants in HB03 (the program’s third edition) have been immersed in a research and training program, as part of the initiative over the next decade to create an international network of 1,000 scientists dedicated to combating climate change and creating solutions for a more sustainable planet, and to raise the profile of women in science. A project we are committed to by promoting the role of women in STEM disciplines, in parallel with our strategic objectives to mitigate climate change and foster sustainability across the planet. As such, we supported the last edition of Homeward Bound through an #ACCIONAteam of scientists, made up of Uxua López, Alicia Pérez-Porro, Ana Payo and Alexandra Dubini.
This third edition includes participation in the expedition by Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and member of the ACCIONA Board of Directors.
The Ushuaia is a beautiful old ship (NOT boat). If I were to compare it to a motel, I would say it’s a rough 3-star beastie that has an important history – from spy ship for the Russians to a Noah vessel for scientific research.
Inside the ship, it is a rabbit warren of rooms, from a couple at the bottom of the ship, without windows (two bunks) to the ‘luxury’ (said advisedly) rooms on the top floor with two double beds and a private bathroom.
If you are on the bottom of the ship, in theory there is a lot less rolling. The top floor is held for the faculty. These are the rooms in which we store program materials, have faculty meetings and do all the coaching (sometimes one on one, sometimes in groups).
So, what is life like on the Ushuaia? It is like a huge well-worn family home. We all find the spot that feels like ours, and that’s where we make our nest. This rabbit warren of rooms plays to our fantasies as children – the ship is our cubbyhouse. There is always laughter and talking and not infrequently headphones (to alert others to leave them be, reflecting, listening to their own music, podcasts or simply creating silence).
For myself, every day has started with a quiet ‘good morning’ to Christiana followed by the sometimes tricky process of boiling water and making both of us a cup of tea in bed. It’s tricky because you have to boil the water while holding the kettle (just in case), then get out the milk from the fridge (holding it firmly, just in case) then getting my mug and Christiana’s thermos (also holding them firmly just in case) and then engineering making the tea.
Breakfast is my favourite meal, largely because I choose my own food, get a protein and vegie fix that is hard to repeat during the balance of the day. We all squeeze ourselves into tables and chairs that are fixed (made once upon a time for much smaller people). It’s not uncommon to get your leg wedged between two chairs. Un-wedging brings about a lot of laughter.
Many people have written about what we do during the day – the leadership work we cover and the places we visit, so I won’t repeat this now. All I will say is the most memorable part of Homeward Bound is the overwhelming sense of belonging, the collaboration, the laughter and the kindnesses which are ever present.
Homeward Bound is the overwhelming sense of belonging, the collaboration, the laughter and the kindnesses which are ever present.
Homesickness, motionsickness, fatigue, overwhelm are all part of the journey but it is the immense love and friendship that is the constant. Very precious and it makes me wonder what our world would be like if women led, at the very least, in equal measure to me.
Embarking for Antarctica with the #ACCIONATeam of scientists, made up of Uxua López, Alicia Pérez-Porro, Ana Payo and Alexandra Dubini.
The fight against climate change is a strategic priority for a sustainable planet. ACCIONA has been a carbon-neutral company since 2016 and is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 16% by 2030. It believes in clean energy as a motor of progress. By 2020, it will have invested at least 2.5 billion dollars in the development of renewable technologies.