My new mis­sion now is to save planet Earth

Dun­beg-based sci­en­tist Dr Raeanne Miller from SAMS is about to join an Antarc­tic ex­pe­di­tion. Here she ex­plains what in­spired her to ap­ply for the women-only project

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

ONE video ap­pli­ca­tion, 12 months of prepa­ra­tion, 77 women sci­en­tists, £10,000 raised each and a jour­ney to Antarc­tica that will unite us all.

It waxs a tweet that did it. Women, sci­ence, lead­er­ship, Antarc­tica and a pic­ture of an ice­berg – I couldn’t re­sist.

I clicked on the link to the Home­ward Bound web­site and, as I read, I be­came more and more in­spired to be a part of this amaz­ing ini­tia­tive aim­ing to change the face of sci­ence, lead­er­ship and sus­tain­abil­ity world­wide.

To ap­ply, I cre­ated a 60-sec­ond YouTube video about what I could bring to the pro­gramme, what it means to me and what I hope to learn and share from the ex­pe­ri­ence. It also in­cluded lots of beau­ti­ful Ar­gyll scenery.

The Home­ward Bound project is an Aus­tralian-led pro­gramme that aims to in­crease the im­pact of women and sci­ence to cre­ate bet­ter so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal out­comes for the planet.

The re­al­ity is this: glob­ally women are un­der-rep­re­sented at lead­er­ship ta­bles in al­most ev­ery sec­tor, sci­ence in­cluded. We think that a more bal­anced voice, which is mo­ti­vated and in­spired, can help us to work to­wards a sus­tain­able world.

So how will we do this? Over the past 12 months, there has been a lot of ac­tiv­ity to pre­pare for our voy­age in De­cem­ber. We have al­ready been work­ing hard to un­der­stand our own un­con­scious bi­ases, lead­er­ship styles and life­style val­ues, us­ing a se­ries of on­line tests, coach­ing ses­sions and dis­cus­sions.

While I thought this sounded a bit ‘kooky’ at first, I’ve ac­tu­ally found the whole process in­cred­i­bly valu­able. It’s so rare to get the op­por­tu­nity to truly re­flect on what makes you tick, and what is stop­ping you from reach­ing your per­sonal goals.

More than any­thing, though, it has been amaz­ing to get to know (vir­tu­ally) all of the other women who are part of the pro­gramme, and to recog­nise how much we are able to sup­port each other – and we haven’t even met in per­son yet. We’ve shared our dreams, hopes and as­pi­ra­tions over email and on­line, and we have helped each other over­come hard­ship and frus­tra­tion.

We have told each other the sto­ries of our lives and we are al­ready work­ing to­gether on small projects to sup­port the pro­gramme.

My team, for ex­am­ple, is fo­cus­ing on change-mak­ers: women who have catal­ysed or en­abled pos­i­tive change through their work or per­sonal lives. We’ll be pro­duc­ing a blog on the topic soon – keep an eye out.

In the lead up to this voy­age, I’ve also fo­cused on telling the pre­vi­ously un­told sto­ries of fe­male marine sci­en­tists work­ing in the gen­er­a­tions be­fore us and en­cour­ag­ing fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to en­gage with sci­ence them­selves. I’ve worked with many dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions in the past 12 months and there is so much mo­men­tum around this topic – so many peo­ple are in­spired and want to get in­volved in sci­ence, di­ver­sity, or ed­u­ca­tion.

It is such an ex­cit­ing time, and it feels like we are well and truly at the be­gin­ning of a move­ment.

So in two weeks, I will pack my bags full of long un­der­wear, woolly hats, jumpers and warm jack­ets to head south to Ushuaia, Ar­gentina, where I will fi­nally meet the other 76 women of Home­ward Bound. To­gether we will sail across the Drake Pas­sage to the Antarc­tic penin­sula, ex­plor­ing one of the re­gions most af­fected by cli­mate change world­wide and work­ing to­gether to de­velop strate­gies to en­sure a pos­i­tive fu­ture for the planet.

Home­ward Bound’s motto is: Mother Na­ture needs her daugh­ters. And, right now, it truly does.

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