The third instalment of ‘My Journey, My Inspiration’ relates the unique story of Bader Al Lawati. Nicknamed “The Freezing Omani’, Bader’s passion for protecting the environment of his homeland inspired him to take on a challenging and gruelling journey to the freezing Antarctic, a place to which few Omanis have ever been.
Bader’s ultimate desire to preserve the environment started as a young boy, when he would wander around the beautiful and rugged Omani desert on camping trips and adventures with his family. As he grew up, he quickly realised that things needed to change for future generations to be able to enjoy the beauty of the Omani landscape, and he felt compelled to make a difference by getting involved in charity work and events to raise awareness about major environmental issues.
His work led to him being selected, along with 29 other campaigners worldwide, to be part of an expedition to the Antarctic by ‘2041’; an NGO founded by Robert Swan, the first man in history to walk to both the North and South Poles. The two-week journey was a life-changing experience for Bader and his fellow companions, as it aimed to increase global awareness about climate change and its effect on local communities.
“I feel a huge sense of pride in my heritage and my land, and I wanted the honour of taking the Omani flag to places it had never been before. It will always be in my heart,” said Bader.
The young environmentalist begins his film by describing the first challenges he faced during the preparation stages of his trip to the Antarctic – gruelling physical training included locking himself in a freezer for 10 minutes at a time before working up to six hour stints.
“This was truly the most amazing journey of my life,” recalled Bader. “I learnt from the experts there, and when I came back, I knew I had to do something bigger than I originally envisaged. In this part of the world, things have developed so quickly, and our waste has expanded very rapidly. I felt I needed to address the issue of plastic bags, because this is something that has become a worldwide environmental issue which could have a catastrophic effect if we don’t tackle the problem now.”
Once back from his life-changing trip, Bader launched an environmental campaign focusing on reducing the use of plastic bags by working with local supermarkets and distributors.
“My journey is about telling people that one person with an idea can make a difference - you don’t need to wait for an organisation or government to incite positive change. All you need is dedication and inspiration. If I am able to inspire just one person to do something and to make a difference, then my journey has been successful.”