Frozen wilderness: A new movement calls for preserving Antarctica's resources; see photos

In 1820, Antarctica was spotted for the first time.

In 1959, 12 Countries signed a treaty of cooperation for Peace and Science. This was officially recognised as The Antarctic Treaty in 1961. Under this treaty, no one owns any part of Antarctica. All bases constructed are for scientific research. The objective of this international agreement is “to ensure that Antarctica is used for peaceful purposes, for international cooperation in scientific research, and does not become the scene or object of international discord”.

This treaty has been one of the rare successes of diplomacy in modern times, coming when the arms race was heating up, it threw up a glimmer of hope that humanity might not be as ruthless as it may seem.

However, this treaty expires in 2048, with the potential of then being re-negotiated to allow drilling and exploitation of natural resources.

This amazing continent holds major significance in balancing the planet's weather systems. Being 98 percent covered by ice which is 1.6 km thick on average, it holds 70 percent of the earth's fresh water. If this ice cover melts, sea levels will rise 200 feet.

The #antarcticamatters initiative aims to bring awareness about the significance of the Antarctic Treaty. It must not be allowed to be removed in the future.

The mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula are a continuation of the Andes range. Their bases are submerged well below sea level.

The mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula are a continuation of the Andes range. Their bases are submerged well below sea level.

Icebergs can be beautifully blue because the ice is so compressed that all the air has been squeezed out of it.

Icebergs can be beautifully blue because the ice is so compressed that all the air has been squeezed out of it.

You can almost tell where the wind has been blowing from all summer if you look at Penguin poop! This one had some shelter, so it's not very accurate!

You can almost tell where the wind has been blowing from all summer if you look at penguin poop! This one had some shelter, so it's not very accurate!

A Wilson's Storm Petrel dances on the water as a Leopard Seal eats a Crabeater Seal.

A Wilson's Storm Petrel dances on the water as a Leopard Seal eats a Crabeater Seal.

No country owns any part of Antarctica. Port Lockroy is a British Post Office and research center.

No country owns any part of Antarctica. Port Lockroy is a British Post Office and research center.

Whaling operations may have ceased, but the legacy remains.

Whaling operations may have ceased, but the legacy remains.

Icebergs off of Petermann Island along the Antarctic Peninsula

Icebergs off of Petermann Island along the Antarctic Peninsula.

Paddleboarding with 40 foot Humpack Whales!

Paddleboarding with 40 foot Humpback Whales.

This is called the Polar Plunge!

This is called the Polar Plunge!

Amazing Geology off the Western Coast of the Antarctic Peninsula

Amazing geology off the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Ashy soil and covers the beaches of Deception Island which is a sunken volcanic caldera.

Ashy soil and covers the beaches of Deception Island which is a sunken volcanic caldera.

Rusted whale-oil silos along Whaler's Bay

Rusted whale-oil silos along Whaler's Bay.

Chinstrap Penguins on Halfmoon Island in the South Shetlands

Chinstrap Penguins on Halfmoon Island in the South Shetlands.

A perfect Antarctic sunset

A perfect Antarctic sunset.

All photos © Anand Puri. Follow the writer on Instagram: @TheAdventuresOfNando


Published Date: May 13, 2017 02:46 pm | Updated Date: May 13, 2017 02:47 pm

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