Just as the global focus is turning to the changing climate, the amazing feat of a Malaysian polar explorer to conquer the North and South Poles has caught the attention of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The agency's spokesman, Nick Nuttal, said Sharifah Mazlina Syed Kadir's accomplishment as the first Asian woman to complete the Pole-to-Pole mission underlined the interconnectiveness of the planet in the 21st century.
"We now no longer live in boxes but truly, for the first time, as a global village. Climate change for the first time is interconnecting people on this planet because every person will be feeling the impact of it," he told Bernama on the sidelines of the inaugural Global Business Summit for the Environment hosted by the UNEP here in Singapore. Sharifah Mazlina reached the top of the world at latitude 90 degress north at 2.45pm (8.25pm Malaysian time) on Tuesday, exactly two weeks after setting off from Kuala Lumpur. The feat was the culmination of the 42-year-old lecturer's one-and-a-half years of preparation. In April 2004, she was the first Asian woman to reach the South Pole. Bangkok-based UNEP Regional Information Officer Satwant Kaur said that by achieving the feat, Sharifah Mazlina was a good model not just for Malaysians but for young Asian women and men.
"It is interesting that an Asian woman has reached such heights, particularly in the International Polar Year which started in March and lasts until March 2009. It's really a good start," she said. International Polar Year (IPY) is regarded as the largest-ever international programme of scientific research focused on the Arctic and Antarctic regions.