Antarctic sabbatical

Airbnb is supporting 5 volunteers that wish to join next December environmental scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams, from the University of Exeter, on a scientific expedition in Antarctica, investigating the presence of microplastics there. The deadline for applications  is 11:59pm EDT on 8 October 2019. (I wish I could, but the news came a bit late to contemplate rescheduling a large number of classes.) As the offer includes riding snowmobiles and fat tyre bikes, and visiting sites over Antarctica, during the one week stay there, this obviously sounds more like covert tourism than a genuine expedition. With a dose of greenwashing by Airbnb, “inherently more eco-friendly than other forms of travel given that people are using spaces already built” to quote from the University of Exeter webpage, which does not mention the impact of airbnbing locals out of city centres by drying out long-term rentals and raising housing prices sky-high… (As a long-term user of airbnb, hence accomplice to the fact, I noticed a rising proportion of places that are sheer around-the-year rentals rather than occasionally let to visitors. And hope the alternative platform fairbnb.coop will launch soon.)

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