Robert Adragna

, Our Poles. Our Planet

Robert is a first year Engineering Science student at the University of Toronto who is curiously motivated to unravel the mysteries of our universe with the goal of using innovation to best protect and preserve the beauty of nature that surrounds and sustains us. After participating in the 2014 Students on Ice Antarctic Expedition, he was gripped by an awe of the overwhelming presence of the natural world along with a somber understanding of the need to protect it. He soon realized that in order to motivate others to embrace environmental stewardship, he first needed to help them recognize and appreciate nature’s invaluable worth. Committed to raising awareness at a local level, Robert delivered presentations about his experiences in the Antarctic to youth at schools, conferences and events across Toronto. In addition, he wrote several newspaper editorials and gave interviews to various Canada-wide media outlets in the months following my expedition. One document he co-authored, the 2014 SOI Marine Protected Areas Ross Sea Declaration, is currently seeking international approval. 

During Robert's work in environmental advocacy, he spoke with many youth and was astounded by their unending excitement about nature and enthusiasm to make a difference. This inspired him to found Our Poles. Our Planet - a growing youth organization dedicated to educating youth about the Polar Regions. Our first major event was the 2016 Our Poles. Our Planet Sustainability Conference, held in partnership with the Toronto Catholic District School Board. This event connected over 200 students from across Toronto and nurtured in them an appreciation for the Arctic/Antarctic and their environmental significance. Participants engaged in expert-delivered workshops, seminars and panel discussions which equipped them with the knowledge, inspiration and confidence to promote concrete change within their respective communities by living sustainably and advocating for environmental conservation. Robert's experience this summer, participating in the 2016 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition, confirmed the need to continue expanding; Our Poles. Our Planet conferences will be held in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax this year, reaching over 1000 students across Canada. In addition, the organization recently launched the Our Poles. Our Planet Facebook Page, a fun and interactive resource for the public to learn about polar sustainability. 

Alongside his commitment to environmental sustainability, Robert is equally interested in both the sciences and the arts. If not out hiking and experiencing the great outdoors, you can always find him playing music, reading classic literature, shooting photography or attempting to unravel the mysteries of the universe with physics!