Climate change is getting old. We’ve grown tired of hearing that last year was the fourth-warmest year ever. We turn off if someone says there’s more CO2 in the atmosphere now than there was 3 million years ago. And if we hear that Miami is going to be underwater by 2100 one more time, we’re just going to drop our phones into the watery void of our rapidly rising sea levels.
But what if instead of awareness, we focused on action? Instead of further defining the problem, we concentrate on what can fix it? It’s just like that classic literary maxim: Show, don’t tell.
Instead of just talking about solutions, Bertrand Piccard had created them. He’s the first person to both circumnavigate the globe in a hot-air balloon and in a solar-powered airplane of his own making. In an era where our guilt over the environmental effects of plane travel have lead to words like the Swedish flygskam and the German flugscham being coined—”flight shaming” in English—Piccard endeavors to get people thinking about alternate methods of travel and resource expenditure in a more sustainable way.
Piccard comes from a lineage of intrepid explorers who didn’t let gravity get in their way. His grandfather Auguste Picard was a scientist who invented a helium-powered balloon that took him over 50,000 feet into the sky back in 1931. That made him the first Earthling to enter the stratosphere, as well as the first person to see the curvature of the Earth. Not to be outdone, his son Jacques decided to go the other way—underwater, closer to the center of the planet. Along with US submarine lieutenant Don Walsh, he was the first to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest part of the ocean. […]