Today is Antarctic Day. In 1959 on December 1st the Antarctic Treaty was signed. What a document. Short, precise, almighty and powerful. There are lots of reasons I love Antarctica. Everyone things it’s because of the cold, but actually it’s because of the warmth it brings to people. It is the only continent on Earth that is shared by everyone. That’s right. It has no president, prime minister, or king. It’s a place on the earth that belongs to all. Sure, you could think of a park as open to all but if someone gets hurt in that area, the cops will come and arrest the bad guy. However, if someone gets hurt in Antarctica, your friends come to help you. Because they know if they were hurt, you would do the same. And if they didn’t, you would die.
It is the coldest, windiest, highest, driest place on Earth. Not to mention cleanest. With such extreme conditions, you can’t afford not to work together. It reduces us to human beings. We don’t have time to fight over petty differences about what God you believe in. And skin color? You can’t even see the color of your skin with all the layers you need to wear! This is probably my deepest darkest secret. I’m a scientist so everyone thinks I love Antarctica because of all the awesome science that goes on there. And I do. Don’t get me wrong. I love science. But what I love about science is how it unites people. Over facts. To me, Antarctica is the ultimate leveler.
And we chose to celebrate that, with the Treaty. To stop fighting over it. And you better believe we were squabbling like children over who gets a bigger ice cream sundae. But we stopped. We matured enough to realize that it was better to share than it was to fight over it. And we’ve kept that promise to each other still almost 60 years later. Really, if we have done something cooler as humanity, I don’t know what it is? Maybe the Montreal Protocol in 1987. That was the year my brother was born, by the way. Its days like these that I have hope and faith that maybe humanity can unite to work on mitigating the Climate Crisis.
This year, I’m in Antarctica for Antarctica Day. That is awesome, surely not to be taken for granted. Here’s to appreciating the only place on this planet that people fully share.