Johan Ernst Nilson

Johan Ernst Nilson is the quintessential 21st century world explorer. During the final leg of his Pole2Pole expedition on his way to the South Pole on an expedition that began in April, 2011 at the opposite end of the world, Johan’s journey has seen him triumph over adversity again and again. Johan pushes on in the spirit of the great explorers: He has dodged two hurricanes—one tropical and one polar—cracked ribs, fallen through ice, endured extreme heat and cold, and lost a crew member to injury (he’s fine now). That Johan has battled through all of that and still maintains his goal of completing the journey from Pole to Pole in less than one year is no small feat, but that he has done it while remaining climate neutral is impressive beyond comparison. He is honoring the explorers who came before him and demonstrating that even the toughest of challenges can be accomplished without damaging the fragile environment.

Currently kite-skiing through the unforgiving, icy terrain of Antarctica, Johan has maintained a climate neutral expedition through a combination of excellent planning and sheer willpower. Johan began his journey from the North Pole on the anniversary of Robert Peary’s discovery in 1909, while venerating the history-making expedition of Norwegian Explorer Roald Amundsen who was first to reach the South Pole in 1911. Johan and his team skied 124 miles on the Arctic ice of the North Pole to the Svalbard Archipelago in Greenland, and then navigated across the Arctic Ocean to Vancouver, Canada by sailboat. The team then cycled through North, Central and South America, passing through major cities in the United States and into Central and South America through deserts, the Amazon jungle, and the mountains of Patagonia.

The team uses a range of eco-friendly equipment and technology to traverse the globe, including skis, kites, dogsleds, solar power, bikes and a sailboat, all allowing Johan to travel fuel-free between the two poles. Any distance that can´t be done without an engine is climate compensated. After Johan was forced to find an alternate route to the South Pole for his Pole2Pole Expedition due to an iceberg the size of Berlin breaking off of the Antarctic coast and obstructing his planned pathway, the world-renowned explorer found a military aircraft and crew willing to escort him to the continent to begin his two-month-long ski trip to the South Pole. Because of the fuel used, Johan vows to compensate for it. He can do this by using energy conscientiously in the future, saving it where he can and opting for clean energy alternatives where possible. The outreach from his expedition is quite possibly his biggest compensation, as he makes people more aware of how to control greenhouse gases and conserve valuable and destructive fuels and energies. Johan also compensates for his carbon emissions by holding lectures with topics ranging from motivation to eco-friendly awareness in an effort to spread his knowledge.

As Johan gets closer to finishing his journey in April, he is sure to encounter more challenges and experience more difficulties along the way. His motto, “Problems are made to be solved, and we will find a solution,” has helped him every day of his journey. It applies to both the dangers he encounters during his expedition and his desire to remain climate neutral. Johan has and will continue to provide inspiring and enlightening updates during his expedition.