Airbnb is offering five people passionate about the environment the chance to travel to Antarctica to take part in a month-long climate research expedition
In a joint project with the Ocean Conservancy, Airbnb's Antarctic Sabbatical will give volunteer scientists the opportunity to study humans' environmental impact on the Earth's most remote continent alongside scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams.
The December program will have volunteers collecting snow samples and studying the extent to which microplastics — small pieces of plastic that pollute the environment — have made their way to Antarctica.
"Most people think of Antarctica as a pristine and isolated continent, but recent evidence shows that even the most remote locations are affected by plastic pollution. This expedition will help us understand the pathways of microplastics to remote regions such as Antarctica and comes at a critical time to highlight our responsibility to protect our natural world." Jones-Williams said in a press release sent to Insider.
No scientific background is required to apply for the program, but those who take part should have a passion for environmental science, with the ability to complete physical tasks like collecting snow samples and climbing glaciers. The application is open until October 8.As part of the expedition, the five volunteers will train in Punta Arenas, Chile, before heading to Antarctica, where along with conducting research, they will visit the South Pole and explore sites like Drake Icefall, Charles Peak Windscoop, and Elephant's Head.
"This expedition will be hard work, with scientific rigor required during unforgiving wintery conditions. We are looking for passionate individuals, with a sense of global citizenship, who are excited to be a part of the team and to return home and share our findings with the world," Jones-Williams said.Airbnb said in its press release about the expedition that it is "committed to providing the option for sustainable travel to its community at every point of the trip."
"Together with Ocean Conservancy, we are highlighting the problem of microplastics to encourage a global audience to give great thought to the consequences of how we live and take collective action," said Chris Lehane, senior vice president of global policy and communications at Airbnb.
"While Airbnb is inherently more eco-friendly than other forms of travel given that people are using spaces already built, we need to continue to find ways for the platform to contribute to reducing the impact of humans on the environment," he continued. "There is far more we need to do and will be looking to do as we go forward."
This isn't Airbnb's first sabbatical offering — earlier this year it hosted a sabbatical in Italy, which focused on urban regeneration.