Endurance swimmer and UN Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, recently completed a one kilometre swim in the 0°C waters of Antarctica's Bellingshausen Sea to launch his latest campaign, Antarctica 2020.

The campaign’s name reflects Lewis’ ambition is to have three Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) secured by the year 2020 – this coinciding with the 200-year anniversary of Russian explorer Admiral Bellingshausen’s discovery of Antarctica.

Below are some of the extraordinary images captured by photographer, Kelvin Trautman, as Lewis took to the 0°C waters in his speedos to draw attention to the plight of vulnerable ocean ecosystems.

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

We need these oceans and for the first time in the history of the world, right now they need us

- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Oceans, Antarctica, Lewis Pugh

Pugh will conduct more cold-water swims leading up to 2020, to focus public attention and keep up the momentum of the campaign. The 2020 Campaign is backed by the United Nations and has the support of prominent world leaders, scientists, environmentalists, policymakers and peacemakers. 

“Protecting these seas makes them more resilient to climate change, and enables them to help other seas recover from over-fishing and exploitation. Time is of the essence – we simply don't have another twenty years to think about protecting the world's last true wilderness areas,” says Pugh.

This post is part of a series produced by Virgin Unite in partnership with Ocean Unite, an initiative to unite and activate powerful voices for ocean-conservation action.

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