The Environmentalist

“The biggest untapped source of energy today is our youth. I am from an age of consumerism, but my two daughters are young enough to change the way their generation thinks.” – Mike Horn

The cover subject of this year’s winter issue of Stellenbosch Visio, Mike Horn is considered to be one of the world’s greatest living explorers. Survivalist, family man and motivational coach to many high profile individuals and sports teams, he’s helped lead the world to new, important, and thrilling destinations. To celebrate this legendary Matie, we look at some of his work in the field of conservation.

Nelson Mandela so beautifully captured the vast untapped potential that exists within education when he said ‘education is the most powerful weapon with which we can change the world.’

Many of our current day education systems enable us to master academic concepts, secure test and examination scores to enable further education, but how many of our education systems place fostering empathy, creativity, collaboration, developing a connection with nature and all people, a core outcome?

To date, Mike has notched up a list of accomplishments which puts him firmly on a pedestal as the world’s greatest modern-day explorer. It’s probably the one thing he would never voluntarily climb. He is one of the humblest men we have had the pleasure to meet, giving no sign of his prowess in extreme sports disciplines which have made it possible for him to swim the Amazon River solo and unsupported, complete a non-motorised circumnavigation of the globe at the equator, walk to the North Pole during the dark season and scale some of the world’s highest peaks. He was the first man to complete a 5 100-kilometre Antarctic crossing – along its longest length, solo and unsupported – and he did it in a record 57 days.

His hobby? “Preserving our planet.”

The planet comes first

After the completion of many extreme and solo expeditions, Mike decided to shift his efforts and attention to the younger generation to draw their attention to global environmental challenges. The Young Explorers Program launched in 2008 trained over 200 individuals aged between 15 and 20 from every corner of the globe. Selected members accompanied Mike on different stages on the Pangaea Expedition. With the motto “Explore – Learn – Act”, these Young Explorers witnessed and experienced the world first-hand, learned from it and actively contributed to environmental conservation and social causes.

PANGAEA North Pole Expedition 2011

Mike believes that caring for our life source is now an absolute necessity for every human being – and the problem is that we are losing respect for nature, forgetting her beauty and most importantly, her overwhelming power. All must accept responsibility and work as one using ingenuity, drive and courage to find new inspiration, hope and ambition. Together we can tap the world’s most powerful energy source – the younger generation – to help them find solutions for their tomorrows.

“This is a journey we will take together, fuelled simply by mutual passion and common goals. And while the challenges we face seem insurmountable I believe we must now take big steps towards ensuring our planet can be respected and appreciated by all future generations.” Mike Horn