Earlier this year, Christina Beckmann of the Adventure Travel Trade Association traveled to Antarctica as part of a journey in partnership with The Explorer's Passage and ClimateForce 2041. Here are some of the surprising facts that she learned along the way, summarized with the help of climate scientist Jessica Reilly.
You might not know it, but as a human on Earth, you have a claim to Antarctica. No country owns or rules Antarctica, instead a collection of 53 countries coordinate its management under the Antarctic Treaty, which protects the continent for science and peace. Many people worry that when the treaty expires in 2041, industrial exploration of Antarctica will overwhelm its delicate ecology. Learn more about efforts to turn much of the seas around the continent into a nature sanctuary here; you can sign a petition in support of this effort here.
Antarctic fur seals are surprisingly agile on land because they are able to bear their weight on their fore-flippers. These playful animals were once hunted almost to extinction, but are now protected by the Antarctic Treaty, (which will be up for renegotiation in 2041) bringing their conservation status to “least concern.” However, the impact of climate change on their prey and their physical environment makes their future increasingly uncertain.
Want To Help Antarctica? Three things you can do today:
● Bring your own water bottle and skip the single-use plastic ones. Learn how the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Grayl are tackling the problem of single-use bottle pollution.
● Support Ocean Clean Up. Learn more at oceancleanup.com.
● Reduce Your Carbon Footprint. Start by figuring out how large your footprint is with a carbon calculator.