A young woman from Raphoe, Eimear Carlin, leaves this Sunday for a three-week long expedition ot the Antarctic.
Eimear is the only Irish representative the ‘2041 Antarctic Youth Ambassador Programme’ and has been formally invited by Robert Swan OBE to take part in the trip. Here, she shares her thoughts before she departs.
“Bring me back a penguin, love!!!” was yelled across a Dublin Bus at me last week, by someone I have never met in my life. Hypothetically, if I were to do this for every person that has asked me over the few months, there would be none left in Antarctica!
On Sunday, I will be setting off for a life-defining trip to Antarctica and to be honest, it has not sunk in yet, at all. The tickets are booked, the gear has been tried on, the words have passed my mouth a million times - “I am going to the Antarctic” - yet it doesn’t seem real.
The past 20 weeks of fundraising have been an immensely steep learning curve. I have already learned such important life lessons, on the ground, running, at a million miles an hour. From Day One, the support from my friends has been invaluable. They proof-read, reread, and reread again my initially disastrous project proposals, and gave me tips for approaching businesses for sponsorship. I have been incredibly lucky with my sponsors. From the outset, they have shown amazing support and faith in the project.
Ireland has been through such a tough ride over the last five years and funding is not easy to come by. For every 50 businesses I approached, I probably received three responses. This made me more resilient, and determined to succeed and to keep trying. The fact that I raised over €17,500 in such a short space of time is a testament to the generosity I have seen over the last few months. One thing that has struck me is how people will help you in any way they can. If they weren’t in a position to help financially, they gave their time, ideas, prizes for raffles, clothing, flags, Penguin biscuits by the hundred and extra batteries for my camera.
The Antarctic Youth Ambassador Programme combines so many of my passions - climate change, sustainability and polar protection. I am quite realistic in how we in Ireland can engage in climate solutions. Job creation and ensuring a viable future in Ireland for young people has to be central to this. Awareness of this possibility is part of what I want to achieve in my work as a youth ambassador. As climate change has become our actual reality, involving today’s youth is more crucial than ever.
I am incredibly proud to representing my home county of Donegal, and Ireland, on the Antarctic Youth Ambassador Programme and I hope that my story will inspire other young people. If you make the decision to undertake a project, dream or goal, it is possible to achieve it with hard work and belief in yourself.