How does a cause become a movement? In the same way that a trickle becomes a flood or a few pebbles start an avalanche. Homeward Bound is movement in both senses.

Over the last week, women have trickled in to Ushuaia, Argentina to join together. We started meeting in airports and at stop overs in twos and threes. We came together at the end of the journey, eighty women travelling from 23 countries in this the third Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica. We are scientists, engineers, doctors and others who are here to learn a new set of skills. We are here to learn about leadership, about visibility, about strategy and to practice working and collaborating together.

We need to learn quickly and well;  our cause is urgent. We have 12 short years to make major changes to our society, politics and way of life or climate breakdown will have gone past the point where it can be managed. We have only 3 weeks together in the tight quarters of a ship to learn what we need to know. The ship’s movement will carry us past the evidence of climate breakdown: bare rock and bare water where there used to be glaciers and pack ice. Even before we embark we’ve have attended a 2 day conference in Ushuaia. Two 9.5 hour days in a hot conference room, while jetlagged; we are committed to our cause.

This learning is taking us out of our comfort zones: out of our labs, out of our research, our offices, our surgeries. The stress of the experience is turbulent, swirling and bumping into so many new people in close quarters for long hours. Leaving your comfort zone is hard and it is emotional; and yet we persist.

This is how we become a movement. The tributary of the 3rd Homeward Bound expedition joins those of the first two to become a stream. The cohorts who come behind, one every year for 10 years, will become a river. The cause of saving the planet will become a movement and Homeward Bound will have played its part in causing this flood. We know the science; we will make it visible and real, we will communicate our urgent messages. We will stand up and speak for the polar bears, the coral reefs, the sea birds. We will go back to our countries and develop effective policies and see them implemented. We will inspire others to join and support our movement. We are hope for the future.

Bon Voyage for your journey that embarks tomorrow Homeward Bound 3; our planet needs you to succeed.

Lorna Slater, #TeamHB3