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An Ethiopian set to explore Antarctica in March
Addis Ababa was host to a special guest this week: a courageous and intrepid explorer and motivational speaker by the name of Robert Swan. Robert came to Ethiopia as part of his global tour advocating sustainability and environmental protection. Robert, the self-described “stupidest person to first visit both poles of the earth,” was on a five day visit to Addis.. In a press conference at the Radisson Blu on October 15, he urged for responsibility and accountability on issues of environmental protection, particularly in rapidly developing countries like Ethiopia.
“I came to Ethiopia with all sorts of preconceptions about the country, imaging only starvation and strife” Robert said, but seeing the country:a dynamic, fast growing economy,changed his misconceptions.
Robert’s trip was organized by the East Africa Bottling Share Company (EABSC), the bottler of Coca-Cola soft drinks. The company is commited to making use of important opportunities to make a difference around issues of water stewardship, sustainable packaging, energy management and climate protection.
Greg Jansen, Managing Director of EABSC,said the company has worked in the past with famous Ethiopian athletes like runner Haile Gebreselassie, organizing events like the thrice yearly, Coca Cola seven kilometres road race in the capital city.
EABSC has stated that it plans by 2020, to return every litre of water it takes from the ground, back to the surrounding community in the form of philanthropic activity. Getachew Ayele, Government and Public Affairs Manager at EABSC, said the 50 year old bottling company, in tandem with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS), is engaging in greater corporate and social responsibility, by helping orphans, stretching potable water infrastructures, and helping victims of natural disaster. “The company has also sponsored youth a football tournamentin its name” Getachew said. Additionally EABSC is installing a water treatment plant for its Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa Bottling plants.
The press conference also presented a representative of Tena Kebnana Ginfle Enatsda Mahiber (TKGEM). Anassociation formed more than a decade ago to decrease the amount of trash and pollutants going into and affecting the surrounding areas of Addis’ most prominent river, the “Kebnana.”
Alemayehu Akalu, a representative of TKGEM, said his organization is not only looking at cleaning the aforementioned area, but also at ways to revitalize it, with projects aimed at mitigating soil erosion and the long term effects of pollution. Later in the evening Robert gave a motivational speech accompanied by pictures of difficult trips heand his colleagues have undertaken; making sure to highlight along the way the perilous effects of climate change. The world’s population he said, should come together and preserve the unspoiled landscape of what is referred to as, “earth’s last wilderness frontier,” the only continent with no permanent human inhabitants. The treaty declaring its neutrality expires in 2041. The evening’s program also featured an announcement that the Coca-Cola Company is to sponsor a competition wherein one brave soul from Ethiopia, will travel with Robert and experience the frigid continent of AntarcticaSlated for March 2012, details on who is eligible for the daring mission are still being worked out.