Adventurer turned environmentalist Robert Swan illuminates the perils facing the planet come 2041 — the year when the international treaty protecting Antarctica is up for review — and the many steps that can be taken to avoid environmental calamity.
In 1985, when Robert Swan walked across Antarctica, the fragile polar environment was not high in his mind. But upon his return, the earth’s perilous state became personal: Robert’s ice-blue eyes were singed a pale gray, a result of being exposed to the sun’s rays passing unfiltered through the depleted ozone layer. At this moment, his commitment to preserving the environment was born, and in Antarctica 2041 Swan details his journey to awareness, and his firm belief that humans can reverse the harm done to the planet thus far, and secure its future for generations to come.
Despite the dire warnings Swan raises in Antarctica 2041 —exponentially high greenhouse-gas levels; rising seas; massive species extinction—he says there is much we can do to avert looming disaster. Ultimately an upbeat call to action, his book provides the information people need to understand the world’s crisis, and the tools they need to combat it, ultimately showing us all that saving Antarctica amounts to saving ourselves.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Antarctica 2041|
|Release Date: 10-27-2009|
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|Publisher: Broadway Books|
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Swan: Antarctica 2041
In the Antarctic summer of 1985 I found myself standing at the inland margin of the Ross Ice Shelf, a crevasse-riven, glacier-fed formation about the size of France. A France without baguettes and cathedrals. A totally Paris-less France.
The ice beneath me ran down a thousand feet. Underneath that, the Bible-black darkness of a cold, unexplored sea.
There were reasons why the Ross Sea remained unexplored. A New Zealand fishing boat once pulled from its waters a colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, to distinguish the species from its smaller cousin, the merely giant squid) more than thirty feet long and weighing over a thousand pounds. That's what they had down there, that and God knows what other creatures. Perhaps only Captain Nemo could have handled it.
To report my location on the Ross Ice Shelf above the Ross Sea, in other words, is another way of saying that I was in the middle of frozen nowhere, perched on the brink of an enormous nothingness. "A silence deep with a breath like sleep" is how one man who died there put it.
Early Antarctic explorers called the ice shelf "the Great Ice Barrier," in honor of the hundred-foot-high vertical wall where it meets the sea. But for those early explorers, and for me, the barrier acted more as a road, an immense, human-dwarfing, windswept road, but nevertheless a well-recognized path into the interior of the continent.
We followed "In the Footsteps of Scott," as our expedition was called, tracing the trek to the South Pole of the great British explorer Captain Robert F. Scott.
As I stood at the edge of the barrier, the question I pondered was pretty...