Swiss family travels the world lobbying for the environment.
A few lucky Mammoth classes were treated to a fresh dose of optimism and inspiration this week in the form of Swiss adventurer, Dario-Andri Schwörer.
Dario spoke to the fourth and fifth graders at Mammoth Elementary on Wednesday, and then to Mammoth High Schoolers Thursday, explaining his family’s Top to Top and School to School Global Climate Expedition.
Schwörer, along with his wife Sabine and their four children, has been traveling the world for the past 14 years. Their quest: to travel the seven seas and visit the tallest peaks on each continent using only nature’s power—either muscle or wind, via bicycle, sailboat and foot.
They do this in order to set an example of what can be done to live in harmony with our environment, sharing collected climate solutions with students along the way.
One of the examples: spending four months at Mt. Everest’s base camp cleaning up trash.
The expedition connects all the climate zones of the earth to better understand the impacts of global warming worldwide, while promoting the joy of sport and environmental action with young people all over the world.
Schwörer, who was a Swiss Mountain Guide prior to launching Top to Top, described his favorite climb in the Alps as the “Stairway to Heaven.” When he saw the rapid snowmelt on his Stairway year over year, he felt compelled to act.
What I found particularly interesting about the presentation was Schwörer’s description of how he and his family have handled challenge and crisis.
His sailboat’s rudder broke on a trip to Chile, and the subsequent rattling the boat took almost shook it apart.
When they got to Chile, the Swiss Ambassador heard about Schworer and got him in touch with Victorinox, the maker of Swiss Army Knives.
Turns out Schwörer’s children have all been born on the boat, and all their umbilical cords have been cut by a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife.
SGS, a testing company for gear, et. al. is the other major sponsor. After all, who better to test things in all climates and conditions than Schworer and family.
The family landed in San Francisco on October 8 from Alaska, where Schwörer summited Mt. Denali. They rode to Mammoth Lakes over Tioga Pass, the nine-year daughter pedaling the entire way herself. Two other children ride behind helper bikes pedaled by Schworer’s wife Sabine and an accompanying British photographer. The fourth child rides in a chariot.
After the school presentations on Thursday, the family rode to Bishop, and will continue to ride through Death Valley and back to their boat, docked at Pier 39 in San Francisco. The expedition has already summited peaks on six of the seven continents, leaving Mount Vinson in Antarctica for last. Schwörer estimates the adventure will take another three years to complete.
When asked if his children ever longed to live in a permanent home in one place, Schwörer said “Their house is the boat. As a family, we feel safest on the ocean.”
Sheet: Do you fear getting caught in the middle of some great storm with no help?
Schwörer said not really. “Nature always sends you a sign [to prepare].”
As for the children, boat living is a useful teacher in terms of choices and scarcity. Each child has one box of toys. If they go to a new place and receive a new toy, that means room has to be made and an existing toy given away.
Also, no television (gasp).
The toughest part, says Schwörer, is that constant travel also translates into a lot of goodbyes.
His most powerful message to the high schoolers: When you’re pursuing a dream, you can’t try just one or two times and give up. You’ve got to try 20 times
Top to Top is a non-profit organization of roughly 37 volunteers under the patronage of the United Nations Environment Program. To learn more, visit the website at www.toptotop.org.