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
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.