Seaquam Secondary student Ahmed Masood is the recipient of a National Geographic scholarship that will send him on a fully-paid expedition to Iceland with more than 20 other students from around the world.
Masood applied for the scholarship in February of this year, and said he decided to apply to help bring an awareness of climate change to students in his school.
“If I can share my experiences with students here, I think I can make more of an impact.”
Masood found out he was accepted to the expedition in late March, and will be in Iceland from June 27 to July 11.
According to Masood, the acceptance rate for scholarship applications to a National Geographic expedition is about six per cent.
While in Iceland, Masood will visit Reykjavik’s Hellisheidi Power Station, which provides geothermal energy to much of the city. He’ll be learning how the plant works, and then meeting with scientists to discuss the effects of climate change.
Later in the trip, Masood will measure Iceland’s glacial outcrops to see how fast they are disappearing.
He hopes this trip will give him a better understanding of climate change, and ignite his passion in that area.
“Right now, I feel like I’m less passionate about it because I haven’t seen it first person,” he said. “But I’ve been given the opportunity to go ahead, and with my own hands, map the recession of glacial tongues to see with my own eyes glaciers that are falling apart.”
This National Geographic expedition isn’t Masood’s first venture into environmental and humanitarian efforts. In Grade 8, Masood joined his school’s environmental club.
More recently, he’s led a campaign petitioning the Nigerian government to neutralize the Boko Haram terrorist group, transited to the Downtown Eastside to bring food to Vancouver’s homeless population and worked with a number of projects and groups, including WE Scare Hunger, WE Are Silent, WE Are Rafiki, The Ivy Pull Initiative, Spread The Net, the Hot Potato Initiative and Federation of Canadian Secondary Students.
He said it’s more than helping the world; it’s about being engaged with people in a time when Masood feels they are more engaged with their phones.
“Everyone’s so self-centred, focused into themselves [and] a very small circle around them, that we fail to see the bigger picture of the world,” he said.
“The things that I might get to experience in Iceland are things my children and later generations might not get to experience. So I want to raise awareness about that.”