Antarctica 2041: My Quest to Save the Earth’s Last Wilderness by Robert Swan

Antarctica 2041 Cover
Book Contest Win a free trip to Antarctica
Teachers' Contest Essay Winner Zach Rome

Zach Rome, a 7th and 8th grade science teacher from Lyons Community School in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn will travel abroad with Robert Swan, the first person to walk to both the North and South poles, on his 2041 International Antarctic Treaty Expedition. On the trip, eighty teachers, students, corporate leaders, and environmental experts will come together to gain first-hand knowledge and observe Antarctica’s fragile ecosystems.

The expedition has begun. Now, through November 30th, visit to follow the IATE team’s adventures, photos and blog posts updated daily from the field. Visit to read more about the trip.

The Winning Essay

Why I want to visit Antarctica this November, and how I plan to bring the skills I learn back to my classroom.

Almost exactly one year ago, I took a position as a middle school science teacher in inner-city Brooklyn. What followed was the most meaningful year of my life.

Of course there are the obvious reasons for wanting to visit Antarctica: the adventure, the natural beauty, the challenge, the bragging rights, the penguins, the whales, etc. I’m afraid, though, that as romantic as it seems there are reasons for venturing to the far reaches of our globe far more pressing than to simply satisfy the ego. I believe Spiderman put it best when he said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” It is my duty as a teacher to prove to my students that we can make a change in this world, and I would like to visit Antarctica this November to show them how we can do it.

Antarctica can serve as the world’s first great example. With Antarctica, we can show the whole world that through teamwork we can accomplish a common goal. With Antarctica and the impending review of its international protective treaty in 2041 we can show that renewable energy and the preservation of our planet is possible. With Antarctica, we can show that we care.

Mr. Swan queries, How do leaders go the distance? How do they sustain leadership over the course of an arduous, extended expedition? He is right; many people will step forward and offer to lead, but it is the sustainability of leadership that we find overwhelmingly deficient. This, I feel, all boils down to love. What makes a lasting leader is an intrinsic sense of motivation, a motivation not fueled by money, power, or even respect, but through an innate interest and desire to succeed. It then becomes our goal, as I see it, to somehow spark this intrinsic motivation within our youth; for if our youth doesn’t love their world, taking care of it will always be an uphill battle. In Antarctica, I will learn the leadership skills necessary to help guide my students towards obtaining this end.

Through collaborative, project-based units focusing on the sustainability and preservation of our environment, I plan to bring the skills from Antarctica back to my classroom. As students uncover the importance and urgency of being conscious citizens, they will find a relevance and engagement in the material that needs no extraneous incentive. Only after this foundation has been laid can we move forward to create sustainable leaders.

Zach Rome, 7th and 8th grade science teacher from
Lyons Community School in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Click here to read the 10 Runners-Up Essays.

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won a spot on the 2041 International Antarctic Treaty Expedition November 16-30, 2009. The Grand Prize Antarctica Teacher’s Package includes:

  • Passage for one on IATE November 16-30, 2009 with Robert Swan, and all included activities and meals in Antarctica. Click here for the complete trip itinerary.
  • Roundtrip airfare from the major international airport nearest to the Grand Prize Winner’s U.S. or Canadian residence as designated by the Contest Sponsors to Ushuaia, Argentina, where the trip begins and ends.
  • Pick-up and drop-off from the airport in Ushuaia provided and arranged by 2041, plus two days of lodging in Ushuaia, prior to departure to Antarctica, with IATE team members.
  • A signed copy of ANTARCTICA 2041.
  • Carbon offsets to cover the winner’s trip-related emissions, plus a personal carbon footprint consultation. (see contest sponsor details below)

ARP Retail Value is $28,000.


won one signed copy of ANTARCTICA 2041, and one NativeEnergy water bottle which also includes one ton of carbon offsets.

APR is $50.00 each.

Read the complete prize information and official contest rules

Contest Sponsors
Visit for more on Robert Swan and his 2041 Antarctic mission.

Native Energy
FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING Go to to help build the Greensburg Wind Farm.

As part of the Grand Prize Antarctica Teacher’s Package, NativeEnergy will provide carbon offsets to cover the 2041 trip-related emissions created by the Grand Prize Winner. These emissions will include travel by ground, air, and sea, accommodations, and waste, up to a maximum of 25 short tons of carbon offsets. Each short ton of NativeEnergy’s carbon offsets has a retail value of $14.00. The winner’s carbon offsets will be donated to Clean Air-Cool Planet for retirement on behalf of the winner, and will be subject to NativeEnergy’s terms and conditions available at

NativeEnergy will also provide a personal carbon footprint consultation with the Grand Prize Winner, upon his or her request, with a NativeEnergy Staff member. NativeEnergy will work with the Grand Prize Winner to determine his/her annual average carbon footprint. APR is $250.00.

Please click here to view Zach Rome’s Carbon Offset Certificate.

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