Polar explorer visits school

Parker Liautaud, a polar explorer and climate change campaigner who will be a speaker at Thursday’s Cayman Captive Forum, gave St. Ignatius students a sneak peek at his talk when he visited the school on Wednesday. 

The 20-year-old shared with students some of the science involved in climate change and its impact worldwide – and in Cayman. 

“One of the most important things that is happening as related to the Caymans is the [sea-level rise],” said Mr. Liautaud. “The island is relatively low lying … The level of the sea is rising because land ice in Antarctica and Greenland is melting and sliding into the sea and, as a result of that, the Caymans are going to be vulnerable to more flooding and more tropical storms.” 

Mr. Liautaud told the students that he first became involved in climate change issues at the age of 12, when he became determined to find out more about the subject.  

He has done three expeditions to the North Pole since turning 15, with the aim of drawing attention to the immediate need for action to address climate change. Last year, he led the Willis Resilience Expedition to Antarctica, during which he skied 314 miles to the South Pole, and in the process set a new world record. 

St. Ignatius student Corey Smith said she was amazed by what Mr. Liautaud has done. 

“It is a great educational experience and great opportunity for young people to speak to inspirational people who are out there changing the world and bringing our attention to something which is critically important,” said Bernadette Devlin, head of Years 7-11 students. She thanked Mr. Liautaud for his presentation and Derrick Reid, head of geography, for organizing the presentation.  

At the school, she said, they are making their own mark on the community by talking about the greater need for recycling on island. “It is a big immediate dilemma facing the country and we all need to all get involved … even if it means at a small level because it contributes greatly,” she added. 

On Thursday, Mr. Liautaud’s presentation at the Cayman Captive Forum is titled “Climate science and polar exploration – a personal account,” in which he will speak about pioneering climate change research that he conducted in Antarctica, his new South Pole speed record, and how to survive one of the world’s most inhospitable environments. 

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From left, St. Ignatius Year 9 students Viktoriya Bolgova, Elijah Samson and Andrew Cayasso meet polar explorer Parker Liautaud. – PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY

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