Here’s What to Expect of Airbnb’s Antarctic Sabbatical

A first-of-its-kind scientific research mission in Antarctica launches this December. The Antarctic Sabbatical is a climate research trip for “citizen scientists” spearheaded by Airbnb and Ocean Conservancy. The expedition is led by environmental scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams. Five applicants were selected out of more than 140,000 hopefuls from over 200 countries and regions around the world. The volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and places, from Arizona to Dubai. However, they all share a strong commitment to protecting the environment. 

The goal of the Antarctic Sabbatical is to bring awareness to the impact of humans on the climate in one of the world’s most remote ecosystems. The research expedition is part of Airbnb’s Sabbatical Program, which provides opportunities for people around the world to travel with purpose and do good.

A life-changing and impactful experience

Over the span of a month, the team will undergo training and collect and analyze snow core samples. The findings will show if microplastics made their way into Antarctica, which may help change public policy and how we use and dispose of plastic. Airbnb hopes that this research mission could lead to more expeditions to study how to better protect this ecosystem and the planet as a whole.

The expedition starts with two weeks of training in Chile. The team will meet and train physically and mentally to prepare for research in Antarctica’s harsh environment. During training, they will learn the scientific language and the gear they will be using on the expedition. They will also meet local partners and explore Chile.

In week 3, the team will start conducting their research in Antarctica at Union Glacier Camp. They will embark on ten days of work and exploration. There’s also a chance to visit the South Pole and see Antarctic sites like the Drake Icefall and Elephant’s Head. The final week has the team return to Chile to prepare and process their findings, which may very well add more pressure to change the way we think about plastic. Learn More



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