TV Host | Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer-In-Residence
George Kourounis travels to the most remote and inhospitable corners of the Earth to document the extremes of nature. An award-winning explorer, one of the best-known storm chasers, and the host of Angry Planet, Kourounis frequently finds himself up close to the world’s most fearsome forces: vicious tornadoes, the eyes of hurricanes, and inside erupting volcanoes. In talks, he chronicles his often dangerous, always spectacular adventures—revealing the motivational power of harnessing fear, as well as first-hand insights to how climate change is impacting the environment.
“I don’t have a death wish. I like to think I have a life wish: to squeeze as much life out of these experiences and these days that I have as I can.”
George Kourounis is an Explorer-in-Residence with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society; his efforts to document nature’s most extreme conditions have taken him all over the globe, into places most people would flee from. Whether he’s following a tornado outbreak in Kansas, a monster hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, climbing down inside a lava-spewing volcano, or melting his boots during forest fires in Australia, Kourounis is always in the middle of the action, documenting nature’s fury.
Kourounis’ explorations have often resulted in him accomplishing world’s firsts. While leading a scientific expedition for National Geographic, he became the first person to set foot on the bottom of the Darvaza flaming gas crater, a fiery pit that has been burning for 50 years in the Turkmenistan desert. For this stunning feat—more people have stood on the surface of the moon—Kourounis was named a Guinness World Record-Holder. “I take things to the extreme, but I do want to encourage people to do something they’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to, because that’s where the best juice in life is,” explains Kourounis. His adventures have fascinated and inspired audiences worldwide, broadcasted on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, BBC-TV, CNN, the Science Channel, and of course, on his own adventure TV program, Angry Planet, which has been broadcast in over 100 countries.
Kourounis started chasing storms over 25 years ago and has expanded his explorations to include all types of extreme natural phenomena in over 80 countries. He is also a fellow of The Royal Geographical Society (U.K.), fellow of The Explorers Club Canadian Chapter, and a member of the Society Of Environmental Journalists. Kourounis has given five TEDx talks, addressed the UN’s Environmental Emergencies Forum, and won the Stefansson Medal for his “Outstanding contributions to science and to public education.” He has also been named one of Canada’s greatest explorers by Canadian Geographic magazine.
Some consider George Kourounis to be fearless, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, it takes a certain kind of person to drive into the eye of a hurricane, to dangle from a rope over a steaming volcano, or jump into a pond with thousands of hungry piranhas. But although Kourounis has done all these thing—and much more—he’s not without fear. In this talk, he shows us why fear is not only something that can be managed and controlled, but why it’s a vital element to accomplishing anything worthwhile.
Whether in business, with personal challenges, or even extreme exploration, fear is what gives us an edge. It’s that force that keeps us in check—and without it, we’re prone to making reckless decisions. In this inspiring keynote, Kourounis teaches your team how to harness their fear, and use it to their advantage. His secret weapon? Curiosity. It’s the antidote to fear that we all used to have in abundance when we were children, a trait that tends to get squeezed out of us as we enter adulthood.
George draws from decades of experience working in some of the most difficult situations and dangerous places on Earth to share his unique insights on how to thrive while surrounded by turmoil. The world around us seems more chaotic than ever before and having the skills to succeed in the long-haul are critically important, especially given the current uncertainties in business and world events.
For George, chasing storms requires going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm and being in such close proximity to these natural forces on purpose has taught George that grit, determination, and patience are just as important as proper planning and preparation. When on a storm or volcano expedition, failure means much more than just missing a deadline or sales goal, it can be a matter of life or death. Let George share what it takes to persevere under the most extreme conditions, and how his techniques can be applied to everyday life.
From chasing hurricanes and tornadoes, to exploring some of the most remote and ecologically sensitive places on Earth, George Kourounis has been on the front lines of climate change for years, witnessing first-hand the effects of our changing environment. How did we get into this situation? What does the future hold? And what can the average person do to make a difference? These questions and more will be covered in this talk, as Kourounis pulls back the curtain to reveal the truth about climate change in a dynamic, engaging way. A rich multimedia presentation showcases some of his most poignant, and occasionally terrifying, encounters with the fury of nature, including being at ground zero during hurricane Katrina. Kourounis offers an undoubtedly unique perspective on the consequences of climate change and our defences against it.
George Kourounis’ experiences facing down extreme weather and natural disasters is unparalleled. In this presentation, he describes his scariest and most rewarding experiences and how they have sculpted his outlook on the world. It is an inspiring, personal chronicle of his quest to encounter and study some of the most awesome and powerful forces of nature. With a colorfully-detailed multimedia presentation, featuring actual video clips from many of his adventures, Kourounis will demonstrate how and why he tests his own physical endurance to pursue and understand the forces of nature that affect our planet and the life inhabiting it.
Supplemented with thrilling video and stunning photography, your audience will be swept up and brought along on a worldwide thrill ride from the depths of erupting volcanoes to the path of oncoming tornadoes, from the beachfront of a hurricane landfall to the hottest and coldest places on Earth. Awe-inspiring, educational, inspirational, and entertaining, Kourounis’ unique experiences, and his zeal for sharing his adventures will have you audience on the edge of their seat one minute, then laughing at his equally epic misadventures the next.