Castleacre were delighted to be amongst the sponsors of Rosie Stancer’s and Pom Oliver’s 600 km climate expedition crossing one of the earth’s youngest deserts – the Aralkum in Kazakhstan.
Rosie Stancer is a well-known and seasoned adventurer who has completed a number of impressive expeditions in some of the toughest environments on the planet, from the North pole to the Wahabi desert. Her joint expedition to the Aralkum with medic and researcher, Pom Oliver, was designed to highlight and record the impact of climate change in this region, alongside environmental mitigation, in advance of the COP 26 summit.
Rosie Stancer said: ’ This was a non-judgemental expedition that made observations on any ongoing positive measures being undertaken to mitigate the effects of desertification.’
The Aralkum, once the seabed of the North and South Aral Seas, was formed in the 1960s when two rivers were diverted by the former Soviet Union to irrigate food crops. Since the 1960s 90% of this region has turned to desert, with pollutants becoming a major issue as the fine particles of the Aral Sands have been found to contain both agricultural chemicals and concentrated salts.
The Kazakhstan government have put in place several measures to mitigate further changes to the local environment. A dike near the North Aral Sea is helping to increase water levels and vegetation in this locale, but despite partial re-flooding of the South Aral Sea, water levels here have continued to drop, and climate change appears to be a major contributory factor.
The expedition took the team across the stark desert-scape once covered by the sea, and along the coastal fringes where small and remote communities remain on the original eastern shoreline.
Stancer and Oliver are the very first team to face the challenging crossing of the Aralkum desert on foot, but emphasised that the expedition was not just about firsts, saying – ‘this is an expedition of its time, promising to be one of the meaningful fact-finding, green expeditions of the year… gaining an .. insight into all the issues (and) the measures being undertaken to restore the environmental balance, health and livelihoods of the communities.’
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