Once upon a time... (in 2002, exactly 10 years ago)2 | 2012 | John A. Smart Discovery Award - proposal
…I had the privilege to be part of the Coca-Cola delegation of volunteerssupporting polar explorer Robert Swans "Mission Antarctica" exhibition atthe World Summit for Sustainable Development, Johannesburg 2002.
Robert Swan is the first man to have walked to both the North and the South Pole.He met a world leaders challenge to involve business and youth in environmental issues byremoving and recycling 1000 tons of waste from King George Island in Antarctica."Mission Antarctica" was an exhibition set up to deliver the message back to the world leadersgathered at the Johannesburg Summit.
Since then, it has become my dream to go South. Far South. http://geology.com/world/antarctica-satellite-image.shtml
Thank you Interbrand! Had it not been for the John Smart Discovery Awardfunding, it is quite unlikely that I would have made it there soon
Stuff I learnedfrom insightful Quark Expeditions lectures (Thank you!)
Among all the Greats inhabiting theSouthern Ocean, this is the silent hero: Krill. Photo: Wikipedia
It feeds off phytoplancton growing on the iceberg underwatersurface and represents the bottom of the food chain for animpressive number of species.Corolary: The more ice melts, the less krill get to eat. The less krillget to eat, the more great species are in danger. Photo source: http://anniekatec.blogspot.ch/2011/04/antarctic-penguin-population-declines.html
It is not only about icemelting – humans fishfor krill too, exactly onpenguin feeding grounds.Because it’s easy -"Look, penguins! Theremust be krill." Duh.This is unnecessary –there is plenty of krill foreveryone. Just fishsomewhere else. Picture source: http://archive.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu15oe/uu15oe0u.htm
The right to fish for krill & co. isonly a small part of a big question:
Various claims to the Antarctic territory have been madesince the age of great explorations. 100 years ago http://kids.britannica.com/elementary/art-128167/A-photograph-shows-members-of-Captain-Robert-Scotts-expedition-to
Why would anyone want acold, empty, inhospitable desert? For example, because it holds
70%of the worlds fresh water Picture source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=facing-the-freshwater-crisis
and various minerals.Oh, did I mention oil & gas? http://coolantarctica.com
For now, only scientific drilling is allowed http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/02/%E2%80%98too-soon%E2%80%99-to-confirm-success-of-antarctic-lake-drilling.html
under the Antarctic Treaty.But revisions can be requested after 2048.
Meanwhile, the Peninsula is heavily heating up Photo: Wikipedia
under (in spite of?) a gasping hole in the ozone layer. Photo: Wikipedia, courtesy of NASA, 2008
Branding seems the leastof Antarcticas problems. …but is it?
Actually, a brand is the only thing Antarctica has to defend itself… and us. Photo: Wikipedia
Damages in the very fragile Antarctic environmentcould have consequences difficult to predict.Atmospheric pressure, humidity, airtemperatures and wind patterns for ourentire planet are interconnected andgreatly influenced by processes in theSouthern Ocean.Antarctic ice reflects sunrays and thusregulates global air temperature.The Antarctic current generates anoverturning circulation (movement ofwater masses of different densitiescaused by variations in salinity andtemperature) that transports vastamounts of heat and also takes up asignificant amount of carbon dioxidefrom the atmosphere.If the Antarctic ice would melt, oceanswould rise ~60m. Source: Australian Government, Antarctic environmental report http://joannenova.com.au/2010/06/the-deep-oceans-drive-the-atmosphere
And we can do a loooot of damage. Photo source: Jalopnik.com
Nobody knows now whosgoing to have Antarcticas back in 2048. We all should.