ANTARCTICA - A MODEL FOR GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP?
with EU Embassy in Argentina and the Argentine National Antarctic Directorate (DNA).
Between March and April 2023, I had the unique opportunity to travel aboard the Almirante Irizar, an Argentine military icebreaker vessel dedicated to supporting scientific missions in Antarctica.
Antarctica exemplifies a model for global cooperation through the Antarctic Treaty System, an international agreement endorsed by 54 countries. The Treaty establishes a framework for peaceful scientific research and environmental preservation. It demilitarises the continent, suspends territorial claims, and fosters diplomacy in resolving conflicts via Consultative Meetings amongst the members. For over 60 years, such meetings have served as a platform for nations to discuss and collectively make decisions regarding the management and conservation of Antarctica's unique ecosystem.
The Antarctic continent stands as the largest and last remaining wilderness sanctuary on Earth, with its vast and untouched landscapes, featuring boundless ice shelves and majestic glaciers. A realm of transient beauty and silence, where the perception of time appears to be solely governed by the cyclical phases of ice as it solidifies, melts, and sublimates. While the ice holds the narrative of millions of years of the Earth’s history, the swift changes driven by humankind, by contrast, emphasise the fragile balance between natural processes and the global human impact of the Anthropocene era.
The Irizar, originally commissioned in 1978, is an impressive ship measuring 121 meters (397 feet) in length and serves as a logistical support vessel for the 13 Argentine bases in the Antarctic region. The ship's reinforced hull enables navigation through sea ice as thick as 6 meters, granting access to remote and challenging regions of the Antarctic peninsula.
Equipped with modernised systems and advanced research facilities, the vessel plays a pivotal role in facilitating essential scientific expeditions and collaborations within this pristine and isolated environment. On board, a diverse international crew of over 300 individuals, comprising scientific researchers and military support personnel, work in synergy to ensure the success of challenging operations, combining their scientific expertise with logistical support.
Is Antarctica a utopian model for an international demilitarised collaboration, one that transcends geopolitical boundaries to address global challenges while fostering a planetary environmental stewardship?
Project in collaboration with Eye-V Gallery and Paola Marzotto.
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