"Education is the only way we can really make a difference in the world."
That was the Access Water team's message to a crowd of nearly 100 people at Western Academy of Beijing's final Distinguished Speaker Series event of 2016.
"It's most important to teach young kids that they have the power to make a difference."
Explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft lead a team of eight women, representing every continent, who are on a mission to help people everywhere have access to clean, drinkable fresh water. They travel to schools to talk to children, partner with organizations and businesses, and gather media attention as they travel on expeditions to raise awareness about the worldwide water crisis.
"Our dream is to reach young people on every continent. We are all on the same globe, and they understand that," Ann said, who considers the members of her team as being educators first and explorers second. "We are life-long learners. As an educator, that's what we are. We can't be explorers and adventurers without that."
Liv was the first woman to ski solo to the South Pole. Ann was the first known woman to reach both the North and South Poles on foot. They teamed up in 2000 to become the first women to cross Antarctica. They have changed their passion for exploring into an effort to educate the world and find a solution to a problem that plagues so many people on every continent on Earth: polluted and inaccessible fresh water.
The team just finished an expedition down India's Ganges River. In 2017, they will head to the Mississippi River in the United States, and work on another waterway every other year.
To learn more about the inspirational visitors who come to WAB to speak with the wider Beijing community, visit our Distinguished Speaker Series page.