The Story

We are All Antarctica is a story about my father George W. Gibbs, Jr’s adventures as the first person of African descent to set foot on the continent of Antarctica. He sailed on the famous ship the USS Bear in 1939 to 1941 on Admiral Byrd’s III expedition to the South Pole. It was the first joint venture with the US military and private exploration. Gibbs went on to serve humanity in countless ways, paving the way for not only people of color in the community of Rochester, MN but for all people to become more human, serve their community and appreciate differences.

Through compassion, tenacity, faith and countless hours in the trenches, Gibbs’ life is a model for community service, equality and fun. As the lowest rank on the ship, he was honored for his contribution at a time when people with dark skin were considered less than human.

This story integrates my experiences with natural healing, the arts, the science of the ice, the metaphysics of the South Pole and the history of the expedition and its mystery.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Who Makes a Difference?- We do

Antarctica is a peaceful kingdom, writes Dian Olsen Belanger in her book, Deep Freeze

Science is the primary focus for the Icy Continent. We learn about space, earth's changing climate, life sciences, ecosytems--every thinkable aspect of science can be researched at the bottom of the world. We also enlighten ourselves about humans under extreme conditions when we study Antarctica.
The Antarctic Treaty is an important accomplishment in the 20th century.  The world came together to protect one place on earth from war, politics, mining and exploitation.  We continue the "how did this happen?!" thought, with our new Paris Agreement. I love it when the world collectively determines something positive for our future.  Critics say it's not enough.  Like the Antarctic Treaty, the fact that we have this agreement is a feat worth celebrating.  Over 100 countries in agreement and counting.

As I reflect on the success of Admiral Byrd's III expedition to the South Pole, I'm reminded that the human side of any endeavor can make or break the most well thought out plan.  125 men and 80 dogs found ways to cope with the harshness of their voyage because they each did their part and relied on the other.

George W. Gibbs Jr., said it was the best time in his life. Gibbs was 23 when he sailed on the USS Bear. When I first heard this, as his daughter, I felt disappointed that it didn't include me (haha).
The trip was well before he was married with family.  After all the amazing things he experienced, Antartica was it!   Count down Day 2 until his 100th birthday.

Miles to other world cities from King George Island 2012
©Leilani Henry
Remember every day, we make the difference in our future.

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