Let’s preserve the Antarctic

by Maximino Gómez Alvarez

The first written news about Antarctic dates back to 1789. It was in this year that the “Malaspina” Expedition was carried out, known by the name of the Spanish sailor who headed it. During the nineteenth century, it was possible to know more about this inhospitable region, thanks to the information provided by fishermen of seals and sea lions. At the beginning of the 20th century began the race between countries and explorers, to reach the South Pole, glory that finally reached the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen in reaching this goal on December 14, 1911. A month later, on January 16, 1912, did the English Scott.

Antarctic has not only been fascinated by seafarers, explorers and adventurers, but also attracted the attention of the scientific community, which for decades has deepened the study and knowledge of this remote region of vital importance for the planet. The oceans contain 97% of the water on our planet. Of the remaining 3%, 1.9% remains in the form of ice in polar ice caps and glaciers. Ice is one of the largest reserves of fresh water on Earth, constituting a very important factor in global climate behavior. Antarctic, with its 14 million km2 covered by ice, is the largest reservoir of water, since 90% of the land ice is contained in this area. It is the highest continent of the planet with an average of 2,000m meters, in addition to possessing more than 1,500 km2 of coasts. For decades, scientists have been trying to establish the impact of changes in Antarctic, its environmental impact and how it can influence the properties and dynamics of the ecosystems of that important region of the world, and try to establish responses to curb in the future the changes that can be registered, especially as a result of the thaw. The increase in melting in Antarctica would have one of its effects, the growth of the seas, which in the last century has experienced growth of between 10 and 25 centimeters, which has been worrying coastal countries like the Pacific Islands. Climate change is a palpable fact and the thaw one of its consequences, although the warming is not yet significant, nor is the activity of man in this region, which is very controlled, both in terms of scientific or tourist activity.

For years the scientific community has promoted the conservation of this region, one of these efforts is contained in the Treaty of Antarctic, which has the adhesion of 54 nations, including some small ones like the Republic of Cuba (*).

Governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and citizens of the planet must become aware of the need to preserve and maintain a stable and free environment, which is a key region for the survival of our world.

(*) The 1st. January 1982, for the first time Cuban scientists arrived in Antarctic.