That Didn't Take Long

The bio shows that Ben's considerable achievements have earned a spot on the TED program this year—March 20 at 5:00.

In 2004, Ben Saunders became the youngest person ever to ski solo to the North Pole. In 2013, he set out on another record-breaking expedition, this time to retrace Captain Scott’s ill-fated journey to the South Pole on foot.

Although most of the planet's surface was mapped long ago, there's still a place for explorers in the modern world. And Ben Saunders' stories of arctic exploration -- as impressive for their technical ingenuity as their derring-do -- are decidedly modern. In 2004, at age 26, he skied solo to the North Pole, updating his blog each day of the trip. Humble and self-effacing, Saunders is an explorer of limits, whether it's how far a human can be pushed physically and psychologically, or how technology works hundreds of miles from civilization. His message is one of inspiration, empowerment and boundless potential.

He urges audiences to consider carefully how to spend the “tiny amount of time we each have on this planet.” Saunders is also a powerful advocate for the natural world. He's seen first-hand the effects of climate change, and his expeditions are raising awareness for sustainable solutions.

Being the youngest person to ski solo to the North Pole did not satiate Saunders' urge to explore and push the boundaries. In 2008, he attempted to break the speed record for a solo walk to the North Pole; however, his journey was ended abruptly both then and again in 2010 due to equipment failure. From October 2013 to February 2014, he led a two-man team to retrace Captain Scott’s ill-fated 1,800-mile expedition to the South Pole on foot.