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Teen Attempting Record Trek to South Pole for Climate Change
If you want to get the world's attention, walking and skiing to the South Pole in record time before your 20th birthday might do the trick. That's 19-year-old Parker Liautaud's plan.
Liautaud will venture out on Nov. 23 on a 40-day expedition. His goal is to bring attention to climate change, an issue he has been passionate about since a young age. Liautaud talked about his past arctic ventures and upcoming expedition alongside the founder of the Climate Reality Project, former Vice President Al Gore, Monday at Social Good Summit.
See also: The App That Will Make Sustainable Energy Cool
"I, to an extent, felt a responsibility to try to do something dramatic," Liautaud said. "To re-ignite a dialogue, there needs to be a sort of shock to the system."
When he was 15 years old, Liautaud tried to become the youngest person to walk to the North Pole. Though extreme weather derailed his attempt with just 15 miles to go, Liautaud tried again the next year and finally reached the North Pole at the age of 16.
He went back again the following year — although he had achieved his goal, he realized his task was far from over.
"The arctic became a sort of beacon for me — a symbol of global change," Liautaud said. "I thought that it could become a very powerful mechanism to communicate the importance of these changes by actually going there and communicating live from the places that are being hit the hardest."
Born in Palo Alto, Calif., Liautaud moved to London at age 9. He returned to the U.S. last year to attend Yale University, where he is currently in his second year.
Now practically a veteran arctic explorer, Liautaud will not just be trying to break a record, during his journey later this year he aid scientific research by testing a lightweight weather station that collects meteorological data every 30 minutes and collecting snow samples that will be used to test the isotopic composition of Antarctic snow at various locations.
"I'm inspired by you," Gore told Liautaud. "It helps so much to hear and feel the determination and the passion and the courage that you're bringing to this."
We caught up with Liautaud after his on-stage chat with Gore. He clarified the nature of the records he is attempting. Along with his partner, polar explorer Doug Stoup, Liautaud will attempt to record the fastest unsupported expedition from any point on the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. They need to complete the voyage in less than 21 days and 23 hours.
"It all basically centers around mental strength and making sure that we're mentally able to take on challenges that we don't expect," Liautaud told Mashable. "I'm both nervous and excited."
The record attempt is scheduled to begin on Dec. 3, after the research portion of the expedition. If successful, Liautaud will also become the youngest male to ever complete such an expedition.
A communications team in a custom-designed truck will follow Liautaud and Stoup, keeping a distance, to document the voyage. Liautaud stressed that there could be no transfer of materials between his team and the communications truck or else the expedition could not be classified as unsupported.
The entire expedition will be live streamed on the Willis Resilience website, named for Liautaud's partnership with the Willis Group, an international insurance broker.
The Social Good Summit is where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions and is brought to you by Mashable, The 92nd Street Y, The United Nations Foundation, The United Nations Development Programme, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Ericsson. Held during U.N. Week, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges.
Date: Sept. 22 through Sept. 24
Time: 12 to 6 p.m. each day
Location: 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y.
Tickets are sold-out, but tune into the Livestream.
BONUS: 10 Empowering Apps for Social Good
Gone are the days of daring your friends without consequences. When you challenge your friends to Budge, the person who loses the challenge needs to donate an agreed upon amount to a charity of the winner's choosing.
Available on iOS.
Charity Miles lets you raise money for your favorite causes while walking, running or biking. The app's corporate sponsors donate 25 cents for each mile you walk or run, and 10 cents for each mile you bike.
Charity Miles is available for iOS and Android.
With every photo you share, Johnson & Johnson donates $1 to a cause of your choosing. The Donate a Photo app, available on iOS and Android, also lets you follow your friends' photos, so you can keep up with your social life.
Great for foodies, photographers and humanitarians, this iOS app adds a great cause to your foodstagrams. When you dine and snap a food shot at one of the participating restaurants -- which, for now, are only in New York -- a meal is donated to a non-profit feeding schoolchildren in South Africa.
In this free iOS game, you'll travel with Maya, an Indian girl, as she navigates the slums in search of clean water. The longer it takes her to find water, the more school she misses.
The game was created in partnership with charity: water, which lends in-game missions and video scenes to the app.
Did you know that with the money you save cooking three of your own meals, you could fund someone's HIV medicine for three months? Instead is an iOS app that shows you how much you can save with simple tweaks in your lifestyle. Once you make those cheaper decisions, Instead encourages you to donate to a non-profit out of your savings.
My Life as a Refugee is an app for iOS and Android created by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It lets anyone around the world experience life fleeing from conflict or persecution. Through beautiful illustrations, you'll read the stories of the app's many characters, who have been separated from their loved ones and have experienced hardships.
The Recyclebank app, available for iOS and Android, rewards you for recycling. The gamification of recycling awards points that you can redeem in stores and in the app.
Forget daily deal apps -- there are apps that give back while giving you a great deal. TangoTab, available for iOS and Android, donates meals to food banks every time a diner purchases one of its restaurant deals.
Eager for a new volunteer program? This iOS app brings the online volunteer network onto your smartphone. It has a sleek interface that will help you find great opportunities to give back near you.
VolunteerMatch lets you select which skill you're looking to use to volunteer, so you can lend your expert web design or managerial skills, for example.
Image: Willis Resiliencehttp://mashable.com/2013/09/23/teen-record-south-pole/