Roncesvalles Village resident Carol Devine is one of 77 female scientists from around the world selected to participate in a 20-day expedition of Antarctica.
A social scientist, Devine will be part of the Homeward Bound Project, a leadership and strategic initiative whose mission is to foster women’s impact in science with the goal of combating climate change and protecting the planet. The year-long program, which develops leadership, strategic and scientific skills while focusing on climate and biological research, culminates in the Antarctica expedition.
This is not Devine’s first experience with the earth’s southernmost continent, on average the coldest, driest and windiest. Two decades ago, she was there to lead a civilian cleanup.
“We knew then that the planet was in trouble, but not to the extent that it is today,” Devine told The Villager, recalling her inaugural visit as part of a Russian expedition and Canadian non-profit collaboration.
Devine said she stumbled upon information about the Homeward Bound Project in the New York Times’ ‘Women in the World’ section. She fit the criteria as a woman in science and added to the diversity of participants who are in different stages of their careers – from Ph.D students to “advanced change-makers,” Devine said.
The expedition begins on Dec. 2, but Devine will depart Ushuaia, Argentina, the entry point for Antarctica, a few days earlier. With an interest in human rights, Devine says she’s always had a sense of wanderlust. Growing up in northern Ontario, she also has a love of the cold and snow.
“I read a lot about women explorers pushing boundaries. I just like stories of women doing extraordinary things,” Devine said, adding her mother, who went off to Japan to teach before she was born, has greatly influenced her life.
After graduating with a Master of Science degree, Devine first worked for the advocacy organization ‘Voices of Positive Women’, which supports women living with HIV/AIDS. Currently, she works for Doctors Without Borders as a humanitarian affairs advisor, writes and researches on the side. Her work with the international medical relief organization has led her to such countries as Rwanda, following the Genocide, Iraq, and Japan, among others.
The mother of a 12-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son, Devine said her family understands Antarctica is a passion of hers.
“I hope to come home with much more knowledge; I’d like to have stories to inspire young women,” she said. “There are some really fantastic examples out there of how scientists, community leaders and innovators are doing great diverse things to create solutions for less carbon use and smart energy.”
Specific areas of Antarctica are among the most impacted by climate change on the planet.
“It’s highly relevant to us because it’s one of two of the world’s refrigerators,” Devine said.
Devine has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help with the $15,000 (US) amount each participant must raise (not including flights, insurance and accommodation en route).
To find out more, visit http://bit.ly/2eFWid9