It is our great pleasure to announce that Jason Lewis has been made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS). The award was presented by Vice-Chair of the Society, Alister Hendrie before Jason’s Inspiring People talk in Dunfermline on Wednesday 10th January. The honour was bestowed upon Jason for his ground-breaking geographical exploration and for his continued efforts to raise awareness around issues of sustainability.
In 2007, Jason became the first person to circumnavigate the globe using only human-powered transport. Over the course of 13 years, Jason travelled 46,505 miles, crossing mountain ranges, deserts and five different continents in the process. On land, Jason skated, ran, hiked and cycled; over water, he rowed, kayaked and even pedal boated, using the latter to cross the vast expanses of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans…!
But it is not just this physical endeavour that marks Jason out as an advocate of geographical discovery and learning. As an explorer, he has remained committed to raising awareness about climate change, global sustainability issues, environmental lifestyle choices and world citizenship, topics that are perhaps more important now than ever before. To spread this message, he has dedicated a considerable amount of time to visiting schools, often in partnership with UNESCO, to inspire students to ‘act local’ and promote positive changes in behaviour and thinking. In addition, Jason has worked hard to raise monies for several humanitarian causes, helping fund an orphanage in East Timor and hospices for people living with HIV and AIDS in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
As a writer and communicator, Jason has also consistently worked to motivate people to explore the world around them, and think more closely about the impact of everyday choices. To this end, he’s delivered numerous lectures across the world, contributed articles to many well-respected magazines and travel books, appeared on television shows and in documentaries such as The Long Way Down, and published the award-winning book series The Expedition Trilogy which details the legion of fascinating stories and insights garnered from his travels.
These achievements were all included in the official citation read out by Deputy Head Boy of Dunfermline High School, Adam Vallance. Commenting on the evening, Adam said, “The stories from Jason’s travels were captivating and I feel totally inspired by the determination he showed in completing his epic journey.”
Asked about what the Fellowship meant to him, Jason responded, “I’m greatly honoured to receive this Fellowship award. The RSGS has been hugely supportive of my expeditions and educational outreach over the years, and I look forward to collaborating on future projects inspiring the next generation of geographers.”
As an Honorary Fellow of the RSGS, Jason joins an illustrious list of names including Sir Ernest Shackleton, Sir David Attenborough, Sir David Hempleman-Adams, Doug Allan, Annie Lennox, Mary Robinson and Dame Professor Anne Glover.
Reflecting on the award of the Honorary Fellowship, Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of RSGS stated, “Jason is a steeled pioneer of geographic exploration and an inspirational role model to people all over the world. Throughout his career, he’s been a hard-working advocate for humanitarian and sustainable action, particularly amongst younger people. We are delighted to recognise Jason’s exemplary work and look forward to developing our relationship with our newest Honorary Fellow.”
Event photographs by Jim Payne