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explain why Antarctica is so special and therefore why we need to protect it, keep it as it has always been and not to exploit it.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Introduction About 470 million years ago, the freezing and desolate place that we now know as Antarctica used to be near the equator. This was because it was part of Gondwana (is sometimes referred to as a super-continent) that Australia, India, Africa and South-America now surround. The mere fact that Antarctica covers a massive amount of the Earth's continental crust is a major aspect when considering just how special and environmentally spectacular Antarctica is. Unlike the Arctic, Antarctica is an actual land mass. But a continental crust covers it with an average of 3 kilometres thick! In this booklet, I will try and explain why Antarctica is so special and therefore why we need to protect it, keep it as it has always been and not to exploit it. During the winter Antarctica doubles in size because of the large amount of sea ice that forms at its perimeter! The warmest it ever gets in Antarctica is 0 degrees Centigrade. Unlikely as it seems, Antarctica is also the driest place in the world. The amount of moisture in the air is about equal to that of in the hottest deserts. It is the windiest place on Earth; 320 km per hour gusts of wind have been recorded. Being almost twice the size of Australia, it covers 13,661,000 square kilometres making it the fifth largest continent in the world! Why Is Antarctica Is So Special? Geology The Transantarctic Mountains divide the continent in two parts. West Antarctica, which is south of the Pacific and Indian oceans, is the larger and under the ice it is a continent about as large as Australia. ...read more.

Middle

Blue Whales: For a start, the Blue Whale is the world's largest animal...ever. Now saying that that in it's self is not an extremely important reason to protect Antarctica and it's wildlife would be preposterous. There are only about eleven thousand Blue Whales left in the world, and because Antarctica has one of the largest populations of Blue Whales, we need to make sure that there is no human interference to unbalance this already fragile environment. Blue Whales can grow up to 100 feet long and can weigh up to 150 tons. Although their size is enormous, they only eat krill and small crustaceans. They communicate by emitting low frequency that can be heard from distance of 100 miles away. Possible Threats To Antarctica: Fishing Fisheries in Antarctica are huge; in fact they are out of proportion to the rest of the world. But our appetite for fish products is equally huge. With improvements to fishing technology, the past century has seen many repetitions of great and poor sales, where booms of intensive fishing of a species has led to depletion of one species, and a switch to a new species. Earlier this century Blue Whales, Southern Right Whales and Humpbacks were nearly hunted to extinction, but they are now gradually recovering thanks to the international regulation of whaling. Today the entire area around the continent of Antarctica has been declared an international whale sanctuary, but many accuse some nations (i.e. Japan) of continuing to hunt Minke whales. It's the fact that Whales are worth so much that makes people want to hunt them. Japan, being a country that loves fish so much, would pay highly for some whale meat and in some countries the bones are used in some medicines. ...read more.

Conclusion

How Is Antarctica Looked After Now: The Antarctic Treaty applies to only the area south of 60 degrees South Latitude. It allows the use of Antarctica solely for peaceful purposes and strictly prohibits all uses of a military nature. Its aim is to guarantee the freedom of scientific investigation. It prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive waste material in Antarctica. Its objectives are simple, but effective they are: * To demilitarise Antarctica, to establish it as a zone free of nuclear tests and the disposal of radioactive waste, and to ensure that it is used for peaceful purposes only. * To promote international scientific cooperation in Antarctica. * To set aside disputes concerning territories. The Treaty still remains indefinitely. The success of the treaty has been through the growth in membership. Forty-four countries, comprising 80% of the world's population, have joined it. Voting is open to all countries that have demonstrated their commitment to the Antarctic by conducting significant research. Twenty-seven nations, including the UK, have the commitment to vote. The Treaty parties meet each year. They have considered over 200 recommendations and have decided upon five separate international agreements. These, together with the original Treaty provide the rules that govern activities in Antarctica. Collectively they are known as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS). The five international agreements they settled on were: * Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora (1964) * Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972) * Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980) * Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities (1988) * Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (1991) The diagram below shows the claims of Antarctica made that have been made: ...read more.

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