Arctic Explorer and Climate-Change Activist Lonnie Dupre Chills in Costa Mesa

Lonnie Dupre made the first Pacific to Atlantic winter traversal of the Northwest Passage by dog sled in 1991 and the first human-powered circumnavigation of Greenland, by sled and kayak, in 2001.

Three years later, he was honored with the Rolex Award for Enterprise. Turns out the maker of watches I have never held in my life has for the past 40 years spotlighted individuals from around the globe pushing the limits of exploration and discovery for social good.

The social good the 55-year-old Minnesotan has foisted on the world is being among the first explorers to reveal the impacts of climate change.

Indeed, the $100,000 Dupre received through the Rolex Awards for Enterprise Program made possible his historic 2005 Arctic expedition, which has been credited with helping to put climate change on the map. In May of that year, Dupre and co-explorer Eric Larsen set off for the North Pole by sled and canoe and, despite obstacles created by global warming, they reached their destination in July 2006.

Besides being an explorer, author and educator, Dupre is also a photographer, and works done by him and of him as well as other Rolex Award for Enterprise recipients will be on exhibit in the watch maker’s South Coast Plaza store Thursday through June 8 June 12 (already extended!)

Dupre is scheduled to attend a private unveiling today, when he will be made available to talk to journalists about changes brought by climate change since he received the Rolex award 11 years ago. This could include his first successful solo climb, after three previous attempts, of Mt. McKinley is January 2015. That made him the 17th person to have reached McKinley’s summit in winter—six of whom died on descent—and the only to make the climb during January.

He obviously feels it is important to maintain these challenges for future generations of explorers.

The Rolex store is on the second level of South Coast Plaza, near Carousel Court, at 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa.

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