Climate change, according to me, is the greatest threat to human existence on Earth. If left unaddressed it could prove to be the single point of failure for, not only humans, but also for the millions of other species of living beings that we share our planet with. While the endeavor to make humans a multi-planetary species is a noble and, in my opinion, an achievable one, progress on that front is incremental and even by the most generous estimates complete fulfillment of that project still has a ways to go. Yet the human race has an indefatigable spirit that fills me with optimism that this can be averted too.
2041 is an organisation that is working to save Antarctica from the effects of climate change. It is named after the year that the Antarctic treaty, the only piece of legislation that keeps Antarctica from being used for commercial purposes, is up for re-negotiation. The International Antarctic Expedition(IAE) organised by 2041 aims to create awareness about the fragile situation of the Antarctic Ecosystem and try and find solutions to help mitigate the effects of climate change. It is a highly selective program and only about 80 odd people from all around the world get to go each year.
I have been deeply fascinated by the continent of Antarctica for as long as I can remember. Reading about the Heroic age of Antarctic exploration and the earliest Antarctic explorers: Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen, told me of the strength of the human spirit and the extent of endurance our race is capable of. Ever since then, it’s been my ambition to walk on the hallowed turf once stepped on by these great men. This fascination has become greatly reinforced in the last few years as I have seen climate change wreak its havoc on Antarctica. As it now stands, Antarctica is the last pristine outpost of nature. The need to conserve its present form is getting more urgent with every passing day As an engineer, my push would be towards finding technological solutions to lessen the strain on the Earth’s resources. Specifically, I am extremely interested in working in the field of alternative energy sources. In the last few years I have made many significant changes to my lifestyle to make myself closer to being carbon-neutral. Moving to a vegetarian lifestyle, prohibiting myself from using plastic, greatly lessening my use of paper napkins, walking to and from work instead of driving there are some of these changes. They are small changes, but signify my commitment to the cause of helping to lessen the effects of climate change. Only a few days ago an iceberg twice the size of Luxembourg and weighing close to a trillion tons calved off the Larsen C shelf and is said to be one of the biggest icebergs in recent history. While I am deeply pained at this fact, what is more disconcerting is the lack of attention this is getting. People going on about their lives as if nothing has happened, unaware of the fact that the Antarctic ice shelf is at its lowest square footage ever recorded.
Through this expedition, apart from trying to ascertain what technological solution would best help improve the health of Antarctica, I also hope I can help raise awareness about the true state of affairs. That, undoubtedly is the first and the most important step as we move towards Antarctic conservation.
By donating, you'll have taken an important towards Antarctic conservation. But don't let that stop you. There is a lot more to be done and it needs to be done quickly. Organisations like 2041 have picked up the mantle on behalf of the human race and are constantly striving to do what it takes to preserve our race's existence. Our own presence on Earth is inextricably linked to the conservation of this pristine continent, even though it seems worlds away.
Preserve Antarctica, preserve humankind.