This man is helping explorers carry out scientific research at the ends of the Earth

explorer

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Robin Pomeroy, Digital Editor, World Economic Forum


  • Adventure Scientists co-opts adventure travellers to do scientific research.
  • Mountain and ocean adventurers get to places scientists can’t.
  • Modern explorers help tackle bigger challenges.

For the great explorers of the 19th and 20th centuries, the prime motivation was getting to places no one had been before: “Because it’s there,” is what British mountaineer George Mallory famously replied when asked why he wanted to climb Everest.

But no longer. With all the biggest peaks climbed, poles reached and jungles explored, modern-day Mallories are seeking to solve even bigger challenges.

“It’s not enough to be just an explorer any more, it’s ‘been there, done that,'” says Gregg Treinish, who recruits today’s adventurers to conduct scientific research in some of the world’s most inaccessible places.

 

Over the last decade, Treinish’s organiation Adventure Scientists has co-opted thousands of adventure travellers to do the field research that lab-based researchers could not. One of the first projects was getting Everest mountaineers to obtain samples of plants growing at almost impossibly high altitudes. US researchers were able to determine how that moss could survive in such extreme conditions and used the results to develop methods of increasing yields and protecting crops from adverse weather events.

On the sea, Adventure Scientists has used a network of 6,000 citizen researchers to build what it believes is the world’s biggest database on microplastics in oceans around the world.

Treinish has been named on of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders (YGLs) for 2020 – joining an illustrious network of influential people aiming to improve the planet, alongside US soccer star and gender equality campaigner Megan Rapinoe, and whose alumuni include actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, Google co-founder Larry Page and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Forum Foundations

What is a YGL?

The YGL community is made up of more than 1,300 members and alumni, including public officials, business innovators, artists, educators, technology developers, journalists and activists.

The mission of the Forum of Young Global Leaders is to create a dynamic global community of exceptional people with the vision, courage and influence to drive positive change in the world.

Aligned with the World Economic Forum’s mission, they seek to spur public-private cooperation amongst these unique actors to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest.

Representing more than 100 nationalities, Young Global Leaders are united by the belief that the urgent problems of today present an opportunity to forge a better future across sectors, generations and borders.

Visit the YGL website at: https://www.younggloballeaders.org/

In his office in Bozeman, a small city in Montana near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, 30-year-old Treinish is close to nature. But he did not start life there.

Growing up far from the mountains, in Cleveland, Ohio, he was thrown out of high school for, in his words, “being a jerk”. After a troubled childhood he found a form of redemption by communing with nature.

One of his first adventures was walking the Appalachian Trail – a hiking route in the eastern United States which at 2,200 miles (3,500 km) may be the longest in the world. It was there that, aged 22, he had his eureka moment.

“Half way through the trail, my girlfriend dumped me,” Treinish said. In frustration, he threw a rock against a tree, gouging a hole in it – something that made him realize how selfish he was being. Heading into the wilderness was not enough, he knew he had to give something back.

For a while Treinish provided ‘wilderness therapy’,’ taking teenagers struggling with drug and alcohol problems into the wild, and later turned to scientific research.

“I wanted two things: to understand ecology and to fight for plants, animals and the environment.”

This Young Global Leader is getting explorers to do do scientific research at the ends of the Earth
The reach of Adventure Scientists around the world.
Image: Adventure Scientists

Adventure Scientists train the volunteers – most of them non-scientists – on how to collect data and samples with scientific rigour. And Treinish says he now wants to encourage scientists to use his network to be even more ambitious with their work.

“Take the blinkers off – how big are the questions that scientists can ask?”

And for explorers, the big scientific questions are the challenges they are seeking.

“In the early 20th century it was the biggest, the furthest, etc,” Treinish says. “People are now motivated again by these incredible challenges.”

Find out more about the Young Global Leaders class of 2020 here.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

From the Field: Women push for peace

Why medical students decide to study abroad?

As children in Ebola-affected areas of DR Congo head back to school, UNICEF ramps up support

Human rights breaches in Azerbaijan and Sudan

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘End the Cage Age’ initiative

New malaria vaccine trial in Malawi marks ‘an innovation milestone’, declares UN health agency

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

UN chief urges top digital tech panel to come up with ‘bold, innovative ideas’ for an ‘inclusive’ future

Coronavirus: The truth against the myths

UN chief praises Malaysia’s death penalty repeal as ‘major step forward’

Mental health in the COVID-19 pandemic

Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

These 8 countries have perfect scores for women’s rights at work

Some 300,000 Venezuelan children in Colombia need humanitarian assistance; UNICEF looks to boost response funding

Yemen war: UN-backed talks to silence the guns due to begin in Stockholm

Why embracing human rights will ensure Artificial Intelligence works for all

4 ways digitisation can unlock Africa’s recovery

European Commission reacts to the US restrictions on steel and aluminium affecting the EU

This is how we can empower 8 billion minds by 2030

World Health Organisation and young doctors: is there any place for improvement?

This is why people live, work and stay in a growing city

A Sting Exclusive: “Technology for all, development for all: the role of ITU”, written by the Secretary General of the United Nations Agency

Τhe EU Refugee Crisis: a day in the life of a Refugee in Greece

EU budget agreement rejected by the European Parliament

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

EU–Canada Summit: strengthening the rules-based international order

Africa’s future is innovation rather than industrialization

Living in the mouth of the shark: we are all refugees

Trump systematically upsets global order and trade: Where does this end?

Upgraded EU visa information database to increase security at external borders

Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: UN drugs report

Global aid appeal targets more than 93 million most in need next year

Health services for Syrian women caught up in war, foster safety and hope: UNFPA

How to push out of our comfort zones – an extract

Climate change: ‘A moral, ethical and economic imperative’ to slow global warming say UN leaders, calling for more action

Subsidiarity and Proportionality: Task Force presents recommendations on a new way of working to President Juncker

How Costa Rica’s environment minister talks to his daughter about climate change

Trump rejects Europe’s offer for zero car tariffs; he had personally tabled that idea in July

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity Act for a cyber-bulletproof EU”, by EU Vice-President Ansip

Ukraine turns again to the EU for more money

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Stop Finning – Stop the trade’ initiative

‘Eden bonds’: how rewilding could save the climate and your pension

OECD tells Eurozone to prepare its banks for a tsunami coming from developing countries

What if the doctor become a patient?

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

Tackling ‘deeply worrying’ global rise in anti-Semitism is a job for all societies everywhere, says UN chief

These are the world’s least – and most – corrupt countries

Time to measure up: 5 ways the fashion industry can be made more sustainable

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

Belgium eases lockdown with free train tickets for every citizen

Trade Barriers Report: EU continues to open up markets outside Europe in midst of rising protectionism

One-third of young people still optimistic despite COVID’s dramatic hit on education and jobs

Customs Union: New Action Plan to further support EU customs in their vital role of protecting EU revenues, prosperity and security

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

How video games can reunite a divided world

Managing and resolving conflicts in a politically inclined group of team members

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

COP25: Support business efforts to tackle climate change, urges Guterres

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

Time to act together: Von der Leyen at the European Parliament July plenary

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s