Using the Internet and social media, as well as a classroom curriculum that will be distributed worldwide with partner groups, foundations and companies, the women hope to educate — and motivate — as many as 50 million kids, as well as adults.
“The world is radically different than it was in 1986, when we went to the North Pole,’’ Bancroft said. “It’s hard to imagine now, but we used a sextant to guide us then. There was no GPS (Global Positioning System), no email, Facebook or tweeting.’’
“The journey is what people will follow,’’ Bancroft said. “But in the process, we want people to better understand the issue, in this first instance to know that the Ganges is one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
“This type of information creates knowledge and, hopefully, as we move the trips from continent to continent, knowledge will lead to people making a difference.’’
Steger — one of only 19 recipients since 1888 of National Geographic’s Oliver La Gorce Medal for exploration (Amelia Earhart and Admiral Robert Peary are among others) — is a believer.
“I chose Ann for the North Pole expedition primarily for two reasons,’’ Steger said. “One is that I knew she had saved the life of a climber friend who had succumbed to hypothermia.
“The other was her commitment to education. At heart, Ann’s a teacher.’’
Dennis Anderson • 612-673-4424