Antarctica holds a key role in addressing climate change. I traveled there in 2017 on an expedition led by Robert Swan, polar explorer, and his nonprofit, 2041 Foundation.
As Rob explains, Antarctica is kind of like earth’s pristine memory bank. By preserving Antarctica as a place of science and peace, unowned by any nation, we may continue to tap into our memory as we learn about climate change.
The year 2041 is when the Antarctic Treaty is up for renegotiation. Decades ago, nations of the world agreed to leave Antarctica in peace—nobody could own it, there would be no military presence there; it would only be a place of research. It’s critical that Antarctica stays that way and is not opened up to commercial tourism.
In my video, Rob mentions ice cores. What are they? Ice cores are like Earth’s time capsules. Imagine a huge, long pipe that is drilled down into the earth (or ice) and the ice that it extracts is thousands of years’ worth of ice stacked on top of one another. Because Antarctica is the frozen continent, year after year, new precipitation freezes, building a frozen timeline. We can actually SEE when the Industrial Revolution began; we can SEE when huge volcanic eruptions happened. It’s amazing! So melting ice sheets and shorter winter seasons aside, Antarctica is a place that must be protected as we continue to learn about our impact on our planet’s climate.
Want to know more about Antarctica? Watch my 5-minute video on climate change and penguins, “In Search of the Adelie Penguin” available on Youtube.