Antarctica: An EarthX Film Festival Recap

Dell’s documentary explores microplastic pollution found in one of the most remote areas of our planet.

I recently had the privilege of attending the EarthX Film Festival in Dallas, Texas, an experience that left me both inspired and invigorated. EarthX is the largest environment-focused film festival in Texas—a testament to its commitment to bringing together like-minded people to share stories from around the world and explore the critical issues facing our planet and society.

A Celebration of Passion and Purpose

The theme of the evening, “Where Passion Meets Purpose,” provided the backdrop for an engaging selection of short films, each conveying a meaningful message about our connection to and responsibility for the environment. Among these inspiring films was Dell Technologies’ own creation, “Antarctica: At the Intersection of Technology and Climate Action,” which highlights the confluence of passion, purpose and technology in our collective effort to combat climate change.

The film chronicles the partnership between Dell, National Geographic explorer Mike Libecki, marine and microplastics researcher Abby Barrows and tech specialist and IoT architect technologist Josh Jackson on their expedition to Antarctica. The team conducted groundbreaking microplastics sampling of the air, snow and water to assess the reach and impact of plastic pollution on this pristine continent.

After thorough analysis via third-party labs, the results demonstrated that microplastics and plastic polymers are showing up in the air, snow and water samples on the Antarctic peninsula and surrounding islands.

“What was most surprising to me was the sheer number of airborne microplastics, especially along the Antarctic peninsula,” said Barrows about the initial lab test results. “My ambitious hope is that this research, and research like this, will help to usher in lasting change across the marine and tourism sectors regarding their use of plastics—from paints selected for boats to what clothes are made from. Specifically, I hope this data will be used to help inform the use of synthetics and plastics by visitors to fragile and remote ecosystems. Additional studies would increase our depth of understanding of airborne microplastics in remote areas.”

Accelerating Progress with Data

Josh, who supported the technologies used to conduct the Antarctica plastics research, joined me at the festival. He is a visionary technologist with a clear passion for the potential of technology to address climate action and explained the vital role of data analytics in understanding the impact humans have on the environment. “The education aspect is the biggest component of all of this,” said Josh. “Being able to do something with that data and presenting it in a visual way that people can easily consume will be what encourages change and action. Just talking about it isn’t enough anymore, you have to be able to visualize it and make it consumable to the end user.”

The film shows how technology captures and analyzes data, a crucial element in expediting climate research and, ultimately, action. While Antarctica focuses on microplastic data and analysis, the need for data to truly understand and address our collective impact is applicable to nearly every country, organization and individual around the world.

As the old saying goes, “We cannot change what we cannot measure”—and that is especially true when it comes to environmental sustainability. At Dell Technologies, we believe our broad portfolio of offerings can meet customers wherever they are on their sustainability journey. Whether it’s used to help organizations reduce their IT carbon footprint or to find efficiencies and eliminate waste in areas within the organization, technology is a key player in addressing the climate crisis.

Awareness of the issues and steps we can take in our everyday lives are key to our collective progress. We’re deeply grateful for being included as part of EarthX, and we hope that by highlighting the prevalence of microplastics in the most remote reaches of our planet and sharing our story through the documentary, we can inspire more urgent climate action. Together, we can act to combat the urgent climate crisis. Learn more about what Dell Technologies is doing to take climate action and watch the full documentary here.

About the Author: Megan Carrasco-Beyer

Megan Carrasco-Beyer is the Global Product Sustainability Marketing Lead at Dell Technologies. She has been with Dell for 16 years and is responsible for messaging and marketing Dell's efforts to make its products, solutions, and services more sustainable. She is passionate about how technology can be used to drive climate action and the circular economy. Megan started her career at Dell in sales and then moved into product and solutions marketing. In 2020, she saw an opportunity to create a new area of focus for Dell: product sustainability marketing. Outside of work, Megan enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and exploring new places.