By Stacey Leasca
September 24, 2019
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Christopher Michel/ALE

It’s rather well-known at this point that humans have at least a small hand in climate change. However, it’s a hard concept to understand until you see that change happening in real-time. And that’s exactly what Airbnb is hoping to do with its new Antarctic Sabbatical.

On Tuesday, Airbnb and Ocean Conservancy announced its new Antarctic Sabbatical, a once-in-a-lifetime, all expenses paid opportunity for five passionate individuals to travel to Antarctica to spend a bit of time with scientists Kirstie Jones-Williams for a scientific research mission.

Christopher Michel/ALE

The goal of the Antarctic Sabbatical, which will take place in December, is to bring greater “awareness to humans’ impact on the climate in one of the world’s least understood and most isolated ecosystems,” Airbnb explained in a statement. “By understanding the impact of plastic pollution generated elsewhere in the world, the citizen scientists will deliver insights on how the global community can help protect both Antarctica and the planet.”

During the month-long expedition, the citizen scientists will take a deep-dive into science lessons by attending an immersion training in Punta Arenas, Chile, where they will prepare themselves with courses on glaciology and field sampling as well as lab work and equipment practice. They will then fly to Antarctica to begin their scientific mission. There, they will collect snow samples from the interior of Antarctica and study them for microplastics to determine how far waste and pollution has traveled across the world.

Christopher Michel/ALE

The group will also visit the South Pole, explore sites like the Drake Icefall, Charles Peak Windscoop, and Elephant's Head before returning to Chile to continue the study. Before leaving, the members of the group will also work with Ocean Conservancy to become ambassadors for protecting the oceans. In this advocacy role, the travelers will share insights on how the Airbnb community and others can help minimize their collective plastic footprint to support Ocean Conservancy’s mission.

Want in? Volunteer citizen scientists can submit an application to join starting today through Tuesday, Oct. 8 by visiting airbnb.com/sabbatical.

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