Arctic research vessel crew give talks at Island schools

AFTER spending 11 days isolating – marooned in the middle of the Harbour – the crew of an Arctic research vessel emerged to give talks to several secondary schools about climate change.

Benjamin le Botland, Tobias Carter, Louise Di Betta, Antonin Charbouilllot, Sophie Simonin on the Northabout vessel in the Elizabeth Marina. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (31027622)
Benjamin le Botland, Tobias Carter, Louise Di Betta, Antonin Charbouilllot, Sophie Simonin on the Northabout vessel in the Elizabeth Marina. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (31027622)

Northabout, a 49ft aluminium sailing boat, belongs to Uno Mondo – an organisation founded by Tobias Carter, a former St Peter’s School pupil, and his partner, Sophie Simonin.

The couple met in 2019 and, during the same year, sailed across the Atlantic to Brazil on a 7,000-euro boat. It was during the voyage that the idea for the charity was born.

Since then, the pair have taken the boat, journalists and scientists to Greenland to conduct climate-change research and try to raise greater awareness of the threat facing the world.

Speaking in the Elizabeth Marina, Mr Carter – who moved to France when he was a six-year -old and is the son of former Senator Derek Carter – explained the group’s mission.

Tobias Carter and Sophie Simonin. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (31027624)

He said: ‘Scientists are not always the best communicators so we have got a real job and an opportunity to help them do their work as there is not really any point in making a discovery if nobody knows about it.

‘We did our first expedition last year to Greenland. It went really well and we have decided to keep going. We have just launched a plan for the next five years which we have called “Mission Arctic-bridge”. It is difficult for people in Jersey and in France to be certain that climate change exists. You cannot ask our grandparents who are 70 or 80 years old if they are certain that it has got warmer in the last 150 years. But in the Arctic it has already warmed by 3°C – it is warming up a lot faster and it is very visible because of the ice and the environment up there.’

On Thursday, the crew visited Haute Vallée, Les Quennevais and Beaulieu Schools to give talks on polar regions and what students could do to help fight climate change.

They are currently bound for the UK as part of efforts to build relations with British scientific contacts, but will soon sail to Iceland. Once there, the crew and journalists will hold interviews with glaciologists and volcanologists to find out about the impact global warming is having on the country.

Asked whether Jersey’s government was doing enough to tackle climate change, Mr Carter said: ‘I think they have the right idea with the citizens' panel but they have to listen to them – otherwise what is the point of doing it? There is still a lot to do. Coming from France it feels like Jersey is a bit behind schedule. Recycling here still seems pretty backwards.

‘It is such a small Island and if you have the right people in charge then you can just do it. You are not France, you do not have the EU telling you what to do and it is easy to change some basic stuff. Why is it not being done?’

Uno Mondo are looking for a sponsor to help facilitate their work. If you or your company can help email umexpe@gmail.com.

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