Mark Wood: The environment is running out of patience with the Human race

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Mark Wood was born in 1966 in Coventry. He served in the British Army in the Second Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, and as a firefighter in the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service. He subsequently became an explorer, and expedition leader where he has trained and led teams for major Polar and mountain expeditions in extreme environments such as the Arctic Circle, the HimalayasAntarcticaAlaska, and the Canadian and Norwegian High Arctic to raise awareness of climate change and creates very large virtual classrooms in order to talk to schools and children about these issues. Apart being an explorer, he is also writer and motivation speaker.

We were really impressed with the way and effort he tries to raise awareness of climate change danger and he perfectly fits into this section because he is also Still fighting for the future. We approached him with our questions and he responded positively in return which we very much appreciate from such a busy man.

You were in the army and then in firefighter brigade. How does one become explorer? Do you have to actually explore anything before you can call yourself that?

I applied for an expedition whilst serving in the Fire and Rescue service - after doing my first one I then spent the next 5 years doing polar expeditions each year and eventually left my job to focus on exploration. I found what I inspired me.

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There are many explorers around the world and in England. You don´t know what the other intends to do, so can that happen that you meet on North Pole somebody who has exactly same idea and plan, so years of planning and exercise come to nought since you won´t be the first one?

Yes, this happens - to me I am a brand with a product for companies to invest in - so I keep my journeys close to my chest until I head out.

If above happens, would you join forces or go alongside but separately, so you could call it solo expedition?

Usually, you understand the situation prior to getting on a drop off plane /Helicopter, so you work arrangements out. To go together is not part of your mission statement - and you then become responsible for each other.

It´s my duty to expose the worth of our planet

There are other explorers in UK such as Ben Saunders or Ed Stafford. Are you all organized in some Explorers Club where you put all knowledge you gained on your expeditions so it would save money, time and planning and disappointment that somebody explored something that already was explored by somebody else?

We all work separately with our own focus. But there is an Explorers Club but and I Chair the GB and Ireland Chapter. The Club is based in New York.

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You focus on exploring areas affected by global warning? Do you actually study where are such cases or you are assigned by some institute or TV who pay the cost and you explore and share the details and pictures with them so they help you and you help them?

It all depends on the area and expedition - my journeys are based alongside education and documentary film making. It´s my duty to expose the worth of our planet so I lean heavily on this as part of the journey.

You train people to undertake arctic expeditions. Aren´t you afraid that soon the Poles will look like Mount Everest, commercialized, with hundreds of people standing in line to take a selfie?

It´s expensive to head to the poles and it´s also logistically harder to set the expeditions up which reduces the people interested. It´s not about foot prints I feel as the planet needs to be viewed as it´s our gift - its more about the companies organising the expeditions and their own ethics.

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You are expedition leader. Do you have to have some certificate that you are able to do that or how does one become expedition leader- is it based upon experience, mileage of explored area and amount of climbed mountains?

It´s based on experience - Have UK mountain leaders´ qualifications but that Doesn´t cover extreme overseas expeditions. Experience is everything.

People like you test the human body to limits in extreme temperatures, with special food and basic living tools. Do you think all your experience and information can come to good use within 150 years when climate will change beyond comfortable temperatures and conditions, all will be fucked up so it will be the matter of survival of the fittest?

I suppose humans think they will adapt, but 150 years as you quoted, is a bit of a stretch – it´s more like 30 to 50 years - the environment is running out of patience with the Human race.

Do you have any tricks how to stay sane when walking alone in arctic conditions, something like mantra chanting, best scene of Mr. Bean or favourite music or family talks?

I dream scape- think of situations like walking my dogs, building a house etc. The mind is remarkable and transfer you anywhere at any time.

When you work for BBC or other TV«s, do they assign you with task and you tell them if that is possible or not and you film with your people or they supply some unfortunate crew and frost proof equipment?

I have only worked a few times with crews and they have their agenda set up already - you act as a guide or safety - its knowing when to step in is the key - experience gives you that.

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Did you have any close shave during your expeditions?

I think on ever expedition I have avoided major issues due to understanding who I am - what I am capable of and where I am operating. So boringly I am calculated in my work to prevent such occasions - however, bears can be sneaky so ask me in another two years.

Thank you very much.        


Photo, thanx: archiv Mark Wood