Today’s guest blog comes from Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth who has been a very busy girl not only has she just returned from Antarctica she has also submitted her PhD thesis for review and appeared on The Project TV. We see big things happening for Anika in 2020
For over 12 months I have been part of a leadership program run by Homeward Boundfor women of STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) who are working on ensuring the sustainability of our planet.
At the end of 2019 I traveled to Antarctica with this cohort of 100 women from around the world, from all different backgrounds and disciplines, but sharing a common purpose – to help create the best possible future for our planet.
We stepped aboard the Hebredium Sky in Ushuaia, southern Argentina, as talented individuals. Experts in our specific areas – be that marine ecology, molecular chemistry, astrophysics, agricultural science, or climate diplomacy – just to name a few. Each of us raised our hand to say ‘I’ want to be part of ‘us’ who change the trajectory.
I was immersed in an intensive program that covered four key components – leadership, strategy, visibility and science. The program consisted of lectures, personal coaching sessions, group action setting, and individual presentations. We dived into the greatest challenges facing our planet – tackling the complexities of these issues head-on in honest discussion – and brainstorming how to implement effective solutions.
Antarctica sets a unique backdrop of learning for working as a collective. The pages of history are decorated with the stories of individuals heading to uncertain futures at the end of the world. On arriving in the most challenging conditions on the planet, these individuals quickly learnt that the only way to survive was by pulling together. Ice sheets would not be crossed, studies would not be conducted, ships would not sail and buildings would not be built if the team didn’t come together as one in this ice-covered wilderness. Impossible to complete as one, possible to be achieved together. The Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959, is a prime example of nations across the globe committing together to something bigger than any one country could achieve alone. The preservation of Antarctica for peace and science epitomizes the spirit of international cooperation. It was quite fitting that as we sailed through this frozen landscape during the 60th anniversary of the signing of this treaty.
It was this spirit of teamwork, encouragement, respect and responsibility that bound the participants together – and has set them up to achieve something more than they ever could alone.
Antarctica was our teacher, and as students, we learnt a lot. The landscape showed us the importance of stillness and reflection, the fragility of our natural world, and the power and presence of our incredible planet. This iconic environment also showed us first-hand the influence of human activities on the environment and provided critical insights into the global-scale change required.
Now, I am back home on my family’s farm in Far Western NSW, where again I am reminded on a daily basis of the climate challenges we face. We’ve had to truck in water – the first time in our family’s history on the farm – and summer has been defined by relentless dust-storms and 40+ degree days.
However, something has shifted in me. I am feeling more equipped and motivated than ever to stand-up to the big challenges and protect the incredible places we love and call home. I am feeling more optimistic about our future than I have in a long time. I have met incredible STEMM women working actively on the solutions and who are not shying-away from what needs to be done. I have returned home with new knowledge and networks. I have developed my communication skills and plan to use these to positively influence policy and decision-making on climate action. I plan to continue amplifying the voice of farmers who are grappling with the harsh realities of climate change today, so we can ensure the best possible tomorrow.
Watch Anika on The Project