On Top of the World with TOPtoTOP
TOPtoTOP, the global climate expedition sponsored by SGS, has had a busy and successful 2014. The year has been spent raising awareness of the impacts of climate change and engaging people by travelling the world using only human power and the forces of nature. TOPtoTOP is setting an example of what can be achieved in harmony with the environment and inspiring students and school children they meet along the way.
After overwintering in Alaska and Switzerland, visiting schools and inspiring the next generation, the TOPtoTOP expedition set out from Whittier, Prince William Sound, Alaska, by bicycle then skis and crampons, for Mount Denali – the highest peak in North America. After summiting on May 23, the return journey was completed on pack rafts as the river ice began to break up. TOPtoTOP is the first expedition to achieve this, from the sea to the top, using just nature’s power.
Ice blocked the expedition’s route through the Northwest Passage, so a reroute was arranged, taking the Inside Passage, and then stopping at the Queen Charlotte Islands and Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada. From Thetis Island the crew sailed to San Francisco and the start of TOPtoTOP’s schools roadshow across the US, following a route that took in North America’s lowest point Death Valley, on e-bikes.
“It’s been a year of high and lows, from Mount Denali to Death Valley, meeting and working with 10,000 supporters and students along the way,” said Dario Schwoerer, TOPtoTOP Expedition organizer and leader. “In the Gulf of Alaska we were joined on the beaches by many students to help clean up Tsunami debris from Japan’s natural disaster in 2011. In Prince William Sound we helped with the recording of whale numbers as part of their ‘Whale Camp’ and also collected statistics for the International Pacific Research Center on maritime debris in the Pacific Ocean.”
This year SGS was actively involved in several projects:
- In Alaska, Charles Homestead, General Manager, SGS Alaska, joined the TOPtoTOP expedition sailboat to install and test new Li-Batteries from the University of Singapore
- Across the oceans, Quentin Hurt, Environmental Services Business Development, SGS Africa, joined the expedition on its journey from Alaska to Vancouver
- In Geneva, Daniel Rufenacht, Vice President Corporate Sustainability, and his team, helped to organize the Geneva part of the TOPtoTOP Climate Solution Awards, which involved students from all seven continents
Under the patronage of the UN Environment Program, the TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition is the first expedition aiming to summit the highest peak on each continent, and travel between them using only human power and the forces of nature. An important part of the expedition is engaging children and young people with the environment. Since the expedition began in 2002, it has reached more than 80,000 students in over 100 countries.
Students are encouraged to share their sustainable projects and enter the TOPtoTOP Climate Solution Contest. The authors of the best entries, one from each of the seven continents, are then invited to join the TOPtoTOP Award Expedition, a chance to see sustainability in action, at locations across Switzerland.
The TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition is the first expedition to cross the seven seas and climb the continents' seven highest summits using only human power and the forces of nature. Its mission is to inspire children for a better future. Along the expedition it will share examples of nature’s beauty and innovations for a green planet, in classrooms all over the world. The expedition aims to demonstrate that great goals and progress can be achieved in balance with nature.