The Last Great Wilderness, The Crystal Desert, and a land that’s constantly trying to kill you, are all names given to Antarctica. A land with no animal life, and an almost constant temperature of -35°C or lower, seems a strange place to go for a 56-day trek. However, that’s exactly what the South Pole Energy Challenge team just did. Hotwire Social Impact had the pleasure of working with them to increase awareness about the first ever fully renewable expedition to the South Pole and the perils of global climate change.

In November, 2041 – a foundation dedicated to protecting the Antarctic – came to Hotwire Social Impact with an urgent challenge: They needed to increase awareness for the upcoming South Pole Energy Challenge (SPEC) which would prove to the world that renewable resources can work in even the harshest environments. The only problem? 2041 had no strategy to engage their digital audiences. Cue Hotwire Social Impact.

Between late November and January, Hotwire Social Impact created 174 social posts for 2041 across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and drove 36,584 engagements across all channels with stories coming out of Antarctica – a 153% increase. We’re incredibly proud of the success of our program, but even more so of the SPEC team. They completed their mission while walking through some of the harshest conditions imaginable and testing renewable technology that will be utilized by NASA in future missions to Mars.

One of the things we love most about 2041 is: their determination to protect the Antarctic never stops. We saw this working with the team every day, but one moment exemplifies it best.  

About halfway through the trek, the SPEC team realized they were not covering enough ground to get to the South Pole before the close of the Antarctic season. While they were covering 8-9 nautical miles every day, they needed to average 11-14. Robert Swan, the man who created 2041, and the first person ever to walk to both the North and South Pole, realized he was the problem. He was the slowest on the team, and if he were to continue, SPEC would not be able to reach the pole. Robert had spent three years planning this expedition with his son Barney, braved frostbite in -35°C weather, and already walked almost 300 nautical miles, before coming to this realization.

So that SPEC could complete its mission, Robert decided he would return to base camp and then re-join the team for the last 60 miles, saying, “This is the South Pole Energy Challenge, not Robert Swan walking to the South Pole.” I don’t know many people who could make that decision, but for Robert it was a no-brainer. He was able to put the goal of the entire expedition – educating the world about the importance of protecting Antarctica and addressing climate change – above himself. This selfless dedication shows through in everything that Robert and 2041 do, and is an example for the rest of us.

To see all of the stories from the South Pole Energy Challenge, follow 2041 on social.

Twitter: @robertswan2041

Facebook: @2041climateforce

Instagram: @2041climateforce