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ICEWALK for a greener world; the first major international expedition to walk to the North Pole is drawing public attention to the values of tree planting.

As we welcome the greening of another spring, an international expedition is crossing the frozen Arctic Ocean near the end of its walk to the North Pole in a unique effort to focus the world's attention on environmental degradation.

ICEWALK, the International Expedition to the North Pole, is sponsored by Amway Corporation. In honor of ICEWALK's examples of individual initiative and environmental concern, Amway is encouraging tree planting as one way in which individuals call make a difference in protecting the earth.

Planting trees in the spirit of ICEWALK is tied directly to the Global ReLeaf initiative of the American Forestry Association. ReLeaf is a new campaign to convince the public that the world needs more and better trees and forests, and that individuals can indeed make a difference by planting trees.

"Amway is backing ICEWALK to salute human initiative and focus attention on the world's environment," according to Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos, co-founders of Amway, one if the world's largest network marketing companies. "And we are planning to involve our independent distributors and employees around the globe in planting trees through the Global ReLeaf program. " The company is supplying a free seedling to each of its employees and top distributors and will encourage all of its more than one million distributors to plant trees.

The Global ReLeaf connection to ICEWALK was announced earlier this year when the eight world-class explorers from seven nations appeared at a press conference at the United Nations with Amway representatives. Just like the polar team, we must commit to action," Doug DeVos, an Amway executive and son of Rich DeVos, told the press gathered at the UN.

Planting trees is a step toward a solution to an environmental problem, he noted, and the simple act of planting trees also gives Amway employees the chance to do something positive and involve their@ families.

Robert Swan, the British explorer who is leading the polar expedition, is an advocate of curbing global warming and damage to the earth's ozone laver. During his expedition to the South Pole in 1986, Swan became one of the few people to walk under the hole in the ozone layer. Skin peeled from his face for a year after he returned.

Swan endorsed Global ReLeaf in his remarks at the UN press conference, applauding it as a way to help individuals take direct action. UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar presented the ICEWALK team with a UN flag, which is traveling with them to the Pole. And at a luncheon after the conference, Dr. Mostafa K. Tolba, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, presented each Team member and Amway with a UN pin signifying outstanding efforts on behalf of the environment.

Another principal in the UN event was AFA's Executive Vice President Neil Sampson, who noted, "We welcome Amway as one of the first corporate sponsors of Global ReLeaf. In light of today's headlines about global warming, ozone depletion in the stratosphere, climate shifts, and air pollution, it is absolutely vital that we reach a broad segment of the public with the message that the world needs more and better forests and that each person individually can do something about it. ICEWALK can go a long way toward helping us do that."

Swan and his seven partners left their base camp at Cape Columbia, Canada's northernmost point, in mid-March with a goal of concluding their more than 600-mile trek to the North Pole by mid-May. Along the way they may well encounter temperatures as low as 70 below zero, ridges of ice 30 feet high, polar bears, and arctic white-outs. They will be on foot, but much of their gear will be carried aboard innovative sledges that can also serve as boats to cross any open-water leads encountered.

ICEWALK is the first major international expedition to attempt to reach the North Pole on foot. A successful mission would make Robert Swan the first man to walk to both poles and team member Darryl Roberts the first U.S. man to walk to the North Pole.

Journey's end for the ICEWALKers will mark the beginning of worldwide tree planting by Amway employees and distributors, and-both the company and the American Forestry Association hope-by millions of other people who are alerted and inspired by this forward-looking project.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Forests
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Copyright 1989, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Rooney, Bill
Publication:American Forests
Date:May 1, 1989
Words:717
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