Crossing the Antarctic Circle

Visiting Antarctica is something most travellers there only ever do once, but over the last two weeks I have had the privilege of visiting the continent for the third time, but on this occasion going further south and crossing the Antarctic Circle.

All the visits have been in association with 2041, a small but incredibly active NGO dedicated to the preservation of the continent as the last remaining pristine ecosystem. The name derives from the 1991 addition to the Antarctic Treaty of an agreement not to utilise the continent for commercial purposes (science and limited tourism is okay) and the 50 year moratorium it places on such actions (taking it to 2041), after which any one of the Parties to the Agreement can seek a review (in fact the 50 year clock was started after ratification of the Agreement, which took place later in the 1990s).

I was there helping the participants on the expedition understand the issues around climate change, one of the key planks on which 2041 build their case for leaving the continent untouched. The organisation has also embarked on a new challenge in relation to climate change; removing (which includes not emitting) 326 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next seven years. That is one ton for every person in the United States.

As a keen photographer, Antarctica is a joy to visit. The wildlife, polar light and towering ice sculptures all make for stunning compositions. Here are a few of my images from the trip.