What Were You Doing at 15? Teen Set To Journey Across the Last Degree of the North Pole


Parker Liautaud with Vivian Westwood
photo: GE's ecomagination

When I was 15 years old I thought the most important thing in the world was making the JV field hockey team and not getting any bad grades on my report card. But apparently 15 year old Parker Liautaud has better things to do, like being one of the youngest kids ever to ski the Last Degree of the North Pole. Parker will attempt the mega-expedition all in an effort to engage young adults to take a stand for the planet.On March 31, 15 year old Parker Liautaud will attempt to be one of the youngest kids ever to ski the Last Degree of the North Pole. While a 12 year old and 14 year old did ski the last 51 km leg of the journey with their parents in 2007, Parker will go the full 110 km accompanied by only a guide. The expedition takes between 13 and 14 days depending on the shifting of the ice. The ice is constantly shifting and adjusting. In fact, at times they may set up camp and then wake up in the morning on the same piece of ice, but miles from where they set up camp due to the shift. Additionally, Parker and his seasoned guide and trainer, Doug Stoup, will at times, have to get into immersion suits and actually swim across freezing waters. The ice plates can often collide and create large walls of ice, hindering their initial route and forcing the two to find an alternate route. Parker decided to attempt the expedition in an effort to inform the next generation of change makers about global climate change and the issues associated with the arctic.

He's been training vigorously in preparation for the trip, working extra hard to add weight to his teenage frame. His strength training has consisted of wearing a 25 pound weighted vest while dragging a weighted sled around a track in his native country of England. And that's a good thing because come March 31, Parker will have only his training and the aid of Doug Stoup to help him on his journey. Parker has very limited experience in this arena, having only been to the North Pole on one other occasion for an eco-tour.

Teens Submit YouTube Video Pledges
Parker will be sending out Twitter updates and daily photos from the arctic. While he's in the arctic, he'll also be inviting teens to submit YouTube video pledges on how they're reducing their carbon footprint and how they want the world's governments to do the same. Videos can be submitted via The Last Degree Facebook Page. He will screen the winning videos to world leaders at May's UN Climate meeting in Bonn, Germany.

Parker has an entrepreneurial sense far beyond his years. He even sought out GE's ecomagination for sponsorship. GE said yes to sponsoring Parker's expedition because he fits well into their ecomagination initiatives. Good luck Parker!

More on the North Pole:
50/50 Bet North Pole Melts Away This Summer
North Pole: Could be Ice-Free this Year, But Some Hope Left
North Pole Newsflash: Santa's Workshop Beset By Leaks, Realizes Global Warming to Blame

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