What does sailing, childbirth and a Swiss Army Knife have in common?
A ‘floating family’ made a pit-stop in Halifax during their global expedition raising awareness on climate change.
“My wife and I are from Switzerland. My job there was being a mountain guide and when I saw my office melting away. The glaciers in the Swiss Alps was my office, then I was thinking we have to do something,” Dario Schwoerer said, the Owner of TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition.
That “something” turned into a 16-year voyage that’s taken the couple around the world.
Along their travels they began having children, all born in their 15 metre, aluminium sailboat that draws electricity from solar panels and windmills.
The name of their vessel is ‘Pachamama’ which means ‘Mother Earth’ in the Inca language.
“We have five children, they were all born in different continents and we used our Swiss Army Knife to give birth on the way,” Schwoerer said.
Dario and his wife Sabine have sailed to all seven continents observing the impacts of climate change.
Their expedition is a non-governmental organization that survives on sponsors and charitable donations.
At each stop they make they navigate their way to the highest mountain peak using sustainable transportation like biking, hiking and cross-country skiing.
“In between our travelling we collect best practice examples for the environment and share it with students worldwide. So far we’ve spoken with about 100,000 students,” Schwoerer said.
One of their last stops was in Nunavut, where he says the impacts of climate change are having devastating effects on the Inuit people.
“In some places the suicide rate is 25 per cent and the reason why is because they see what’s going on, they’re lose their hunting grounds to melting sea ice.”
The family has a volunteer teacher on-board who travels with them and home schools their children.
Eventually they want to settle into a home on land where they plan to continue their environmental teachings.
For now they just hope to inspire people to take notice of their daily impact on mother earth.
“I think we really need to take action now. People need to change their lifestyles and respect their environment more and reduce harmful emissions,” Schwoerer said.
For more information on the TOPtoTOP Global Climate Expedition, visit their website.
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