Published: 24th March 2017
This Chartered Accountant from Hyderabad is walking 100 km in the South Pole, surviving on clean fuel to save the earth
After completing an expedition to Antarctica in 2015, Hyderabad-based Sunil Kumar is raising funds to survive in the South Pole solely on clean energy
We’ve all cribbed about global warming and pollution at least once in our lifetime. But what have we done to take it forward? Switching off fans and lights, using public transport, or maybe participating in a plantation drive? Well, Sunil Kumar Chirlamcherla can beat it all by a mile. This 27-year-old will be walking 100 kilometres in the South Pole for ten days, bracing extremely cold temperatures of -40 C to -50 C, surviving solely on renewable energy.
"If renewable energy can help us survive a place like Antarctica, then it can be implemented anywhere in the world. That's the point I wish to make through this expedition," says this Hyderabadi Chartered Accountant. The mission will be led by Robert Charles Swan, the first person to set foot on both the poles. Swan has invited ten people from different countries for this expedition and Sunil will represent India.
Marching with penguins: Sunil in Antarctica
In case you’re wondering how one can survive on clean energy in Antarctica, Sunil breaks it down for us. "The challenge is to survive in the South Pole for ten days completely on renewable energy. We will be cooking using solar power, moving about using wind energy, and we'll be carrying 80 kg on our backs. We will communicate with the outside world utilising the energy generated from biofuels," he explains.
For someone who grew up a bookworm, Sunil's life changed when he took part in the Jagriti Yatra in 2011. "That was when I came to know that people can actually travel to Antarctica. I thought about giving it a go and in 2015, as part of the International Antarctic Expedition, I was there walking on the ice," says the explorer. It was there that he met Robert Swan.
I'm just a common man. But I'm open minded and would like to try anything new
From seeing penguins to sleeping on blocks of ice, Sunil experienced many things for the first time. And of course, it did change his perception on global warming. "During one of the nights, I saw a glacier break. At that moment, I wondered what would happen if a huge piece of ice were to fall on us? We’d all be dead! We really need to do something to calm nature's anger," he says earnestly.
Going with the wind: The team setting up a wind turbine in Antarctica
Currently, Sunil's focus is to raise funds for the expedition, which would cost him around Rs 90 lakh. He has set up a crowdfunding campaign on Milaap for the same. "I'm urging everyone to contribute just Re 1 for every kilometre I walk. I think it is a good platform to raise awareness. I want to convince as many people as possible to switch to renewable sources of energy," he says.
Sunil considers himself very lucky that his family has always stood by him. He also shares a funny incident, laughing heartily, "When I told my mother about the expedition, she thought that I was going to stay there forever. I wasn't married then. She asked me if I could get married first and then go to the South Pole with my wife."
You can visit his campaign here: https://milaap.org/fundraisers/SunilToSouthPole