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Racing through snow for solar power

David Barnard is one of those extraordinary people who make the rest of us look like sloths. He's run the Kalahari, the Sahara, and through South West Burkina Faso; next up is Antarctica, and he's not just doing it for fun.
Image source:
Image source:

Barnard, VP: Africa at TechSoup Global, runs through deserts in support of social and developmental campaigns for Africa. With each race in aid of a different cause, Barnard will run The Last Desert Race - a 250km race through the snow of Antarctica - this November. He is dedicating his participation in the race to the work of Greenpeace Africa, with the aim of raising R250,000 for the organisation in support of promoting solar energy use in South Africa.

"South Africa has abundant solar resources that could revolutionise the way energy is produced in the country. It is the third-best solar location globally as it has one of the highest and most stable solar radiations in the world. According to the Advanced Energy [R]evolution, Greenpeace's energy blueprint for a sustainable future and green development, 49% of South African electricity can be produced from renewable sources by 2030, increasing to 94% by 2050, while at the same time creating around 150,000 new jobs in the energy sector in the next 20 years. The report shows that renewable energy is mature, ready for implementation, and can be deployed on a large scale," says Barnard.

Racing through snow for solar power

He looks to Germany as an example of a nation that has embraced renewable energy - Germany currently generates over 28.5% of its electricity from renewables, and is aiming for 80% renewable energy by 2050.

In its campaign, Greenpeace Africa busts six myths associated with renewable energy:

  • Myth 1: Renewable energy is too expensive
  • Myth 2: Renewable energy is still science fiction
  • Myth 3: Renewable energy can't supply electricity 24/7
  • Myth 4: South Africa's electricity grid can't handle renewable energy
  • Myth 5: Renewable energy is bad for the environment
  • Myth 6: Greenpeace wants to turn off all coal and nuclear power plants today

The funds raised in Barnard's campaign will go towards the installation of solar energy in an underprivileged South African community. Greenpeace Africa will place heavy emphasis on community engagement in the planning and implementation of the project, and plans to host workshops on solar energy and climate change. This will be held with local authorities and community members to ensure that the community is part of the installation and maintenance process.

David Barnard
David Barnard

Barnard's campaign has raised R4,544 so far, with 120 days and counting to raise R250,000. To get involved, go to the GiveGain project page - Antarctica - Last Desert Race 2014. The campaign will end on #givingtuesday - 2 December 2014, which is an annual global campaign aimed at promoting philanthropy.

"I'm excited about my participation in the Last Desert Race in Antarctica and the challenge of raising R250,000 for Greenpeace Africa, and encourage you to make a contribution in this regard!" says Barnard.

Follow updates about Barnard's preparations for The Last Desert Race on Facebook and Twitter.

About Sindy Peters

Sindy Peters (@sindy_hullaba_lou) is a group editor at on the Construction & Engineering, Energy & Mining, and Property portals. She can be reached at moc.ytinummoczib@ydnis.

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