What are various solutions as to how humans can help preserve Antarctica, reduce the effects of enhanced climate change on it?

Asked by Alyssa

Hi Alyssa,

Antarctica is a protected environment, and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1991. However, Antarctic environments are still threatened by several things:

  • Climate change resulting in melting glaciers and ice shelves;
  • People transporting invasive species in like rats or deer on ships;
  • Environmental damage caused by scientists and tourists visiting the continent.

Reducing the effects of climate change means reducing our CO2 emissions. This means everyone making the effort to turn off lights, recycle, walk to work, take public transport, and so on. This will make the world a better place for all of us.

In terms of reducing the number of invasive pests, rat and raindeer are already being removed in South Georgia. Ships must be as rat-free as possible, and containers showing signs of rat damage are not loaded onto the shore. Dogs and other non-native animals (such as horses or ponies) are no longer allowed in Antarctica.

Scientists and tourists can act to minimise their environmental impact in Antarctica. As scientists working with the British Antarctic Survey, we complete an Environmental Impact Plan before fieldwork. We camp only on snow (so we don’t move rocks and cause environmental damage), remove all waste (including human waste), and remove old depots and rubbish where possible. Sustainable science and tourism in Antarctica requires taking positive action to minimise environmental impacts.

See more information here about environmental protection in Antarctica.

About

I am a Senior Lecturer at Newcastle Univeristy, specialising in glaciology and glacial geology. I wrote and developed the AntarcticGlaciers.org website as part of an ongoing commitment to outreach, education and research impact. Read more about me at www.antarcticglaciers.org/bethan-davies.

64 thoughts on “What are various solutions as to how humans can help preserve Antarctica, reduce the effects of enhanced climate change on it?”

    1. PLS SAVE THE WORLD BY CLEANING BEACHES DE PULITING AIR REUSING THROWING ICE INTO THE ARCTIC ( MADE THAT UP MY SELF AND IT MIGHT KEEP THE WATER A BIT COOLER WORTH A SHOT I GUESS) USE MORE ELETRICITY THAN GAS PLANT PLANTS BUSHES VEGGIES SHURBS TREES AND FLOWERS FOR A CHANCE TO SAVE THE WORLD MAYBE EVEN THAT MIGHT EXPAND THE EARTH LIFE SPAND PLS (I WILL SEND THIS TO MY CLASS SEE IF I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE A LITTLE OF A LOT)

  1. Dear Antarcticglaciers.org,

    Wth technology now is there a way to refreeze the glaciers? Not just injecting reflective material into the jetstream above the poles but also refrigeration of the ice water itself similar to how snow makers are used to create snow for ski resorts?

    https://www.google.ca/search?q=snow+creating+machines&client=ms-android-rogers-ca&prmd=visn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiyksfSx_bOAhUB82MKHTYXDWkQ_AUICCgC&biw=412&bih=604&dpr=3.5

    http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/news/canada/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/news/one-solution-to-the-melting-ice-caps-refreeze-them-it-wouldnt-even-cost-that-much

    respectfully,
    -Alvin

        1. Watching a global warming doc rn

          Just make a few of those but on a giant ass scale. it’ll be powerful enough.

    1. your mom ;v;

      bringing technology there would cause more things too happen including scaring off animals in their natural habitats, that and putting the machines down there could possibly cause more Green house gasses.

  2. Dear Alvin,

    It would be possible to preserve some glaciers, but not on a large scale. It is like asking for a ginormous refrigerator. Also, it would require a lot of energy to sustain the technology preserving the glacier. How is energy made? Burning of fossil fuel. There would be no difference between saving it and just letting it melt as it already is. Alternative fuel is not a strong enough solution for preservation of glaciers.

      1. with that idea we will not be able to produce enough power to make that in the location it it in

      1. Look they won’t just die. You gotta really explain your answer mate. Necessarily there are some animals that will probably have to swim miles, like penguin, seals, or polar bears, to get to another land to probably adapt to their environment. Hey we gotta stop global warming. I can go into politics and how no one is really taking it seriously.

        1. Some animals need the cold temperature to survive. Some birds are depending on the fish that is in the fresh water of the glaciers. If the sea-level and temperature keep rising plant species will be affected firstly. This will reduce the number of fish species, which in turn will make it hard on birds, seals, polar bears etc.

    1. Freakin' Normie

      Well, the fish will problaly die due to osmosis, and the land animals will die due to lack of habitats.

  3. SAVE PENGUINS, SAVE ANTARTICA, SAVE POLAR BEARS, SAVE ANTARTICA, I DO NOT CARE IF PEOPLE DO NOT WANT TO STOP GLOBAL WARMING…. I’D SAY THAT THE UN SHOULD MAKE A LAW TO MAKE POLLUTION, LITTERING, USE OF BAGS, AND ETC ILLEGAL!!!!

    1. I think we could if we had the power to suk up water then threes it to make mor icbergs then blow them out to increase a number of icbergs ! And yous the stashon to look at the titanic as well and find out how long we have to save the recig! So we would be saving two things at once!

    2. Agreed Anonymous SAVE ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL NOW THIS INSITINE WITH OUT THESE BEAUTAFUL ANIMALS WE COULD NOT SURVIVE AND THE ARCTIC WILL DIE IN 2040 PLSSSSSSSSS

  4. Dear sir, I am venugopalan from india. In this world drinking water shortage, development in agriculture, forest depletion, over heating.. All these problems can be reduced by the project i am designing. If this project is applied throughout the world, drinking water shortage problem can be solved. If the overheating problem is not solved the water level throughout the world will increase due to ice melting. Many regions and nations will face the problem of flood if this problem is not solved. What will the the public do if there is shortage of food and drinking water. Many tones of coal and crude oil is being used daily. Daily the weight of earth is being reduced. Air pressure is also increasing. This results in overheating, tornado and other natural disasters. If the nature decides to take over it can take away continents and countries within no time. Who will save our mother earth? Today technological research costs so manay crores of dollars. And who will invest in such technology to save nature. Who ever runs this can turn it into international business. 2nd climate change international conference is being held in srilanka and if any country adapts this project. It can be run throughout the world. So whoever maybe interested in this project might reply soon.
    8281812963.

  5. JAKE from state farm

    TThis is a great article. It helps convince me that humans are actually doing something to save the Earth. If the glaciers were to melt, we would cease to exist. According to Paul Nicklen, writer of The Big Thaw, The Earth has one fifth of its glaciers left, the rest have melted away. Sea levels are rising and if they continue to rise, the consequences will be severe. The ocean’s will stop working properly and the salinity level will rise. Through my research I’ve found that individual people can make a difference. According to the Arctic Glaciers minimizing our carbon footprint is one way we can keep the glaciers from melting. We need to work fast at finding the solution. finding the most effective solution to glacier melting is imperative.
    And speaking of horses, according to a source by Ross Anderson, the Russian Scientist Sergey Zimov and his son are working on recreating the Mammoth Steppe that was once existed in the Arctic. It will be a home to giant woolly mammoths, horses, tigers, bison, and many more animals. These animals. Their hope is that the park will be home to grasslands that might prevent the glaciers from melting.

    And speaking of horses, according to a source by Ross Anderson, the Russian Scientist Sergey Zimov and his son are working on recreating the Mammoth Steppe that was once existed in the Arctic. It will be a home to giant woolly mammoths, horses, tigers, bison, and many more animals. These animals. Their hope is that the park will be home to grasslands that might prevent the glaciers from melting.

  6. JAKE from state farm

    This is a great article. It helps convince me that humans are actually doing something to save the Earth. If the glaciers were to melt, we would cease to exist. According to Paul Nicklen, writer of The Big Thaw, The Earth has one fifth of its glaciers left, the rest have melted away. Sea levels are rising and if they continue to rise, the consequences will be severe. The ocean’s will stop working properly and the salinity level will rise. Through my research I’ve found that individual people can make a difference. According to the Arctic Glaciers minimizing our carbon footprint is one way we can keep the glaciers from melting. We need to work fast at finding the solution. finding the most effective solution to glacier melting is imperative.
    And speaking of horses, according to a source by Ross Anderson, the Russian Scientist Sergey Zimov and his son are working on recreating the Mammoth Steppe that was once existed in the Arctic. It will be a home to giant woolly mammoths, horses, tigers, bison, and many more animals. These animals. Their hope is that the park will be home to grasslands that might prevent the glaciers from melting.

    1. 1. Wrap thawing glaciers in football-field-size synthetic blankets that keep the cold in and the heat out. At least that’s what ski resorts in the Swiss Alps are doing. Tired of risking the fate of their industry on the global community’s ability to get a grip on rapid climate change, more than a dozen resorts turned to local textile company Fritz Landolt to stop the melting. Called the Ice Protector, Landolt’s material is a tough but lightweight dual-layer composite. On top is polyester to reflect ultraviolet light, and on the bottom is polypropylene, a polymer used in military clothing and auto parts, to block heat. When wrapped around a glacier, it prevents the top snow layer-and, it’s hoped, the permanent ice underneath-from melting in the summer sun.

  7. Anonymous Girl

    Seriously people, don’t just think for yourself! Save earth! All these problem were caused because of us! We have to do something about it!

    1. Nout Coale mann

      No we didn’t cause its been happening for decades now so its our ancestors. I don’t like your accusatory tone bud.

  8. Anonymous Mom

    No one has answered my question: with (I believe ) three active volcanoes on Antarctica, couldn’t they be heating water that currents around the continent, causing melting glaciers? We’ve already found ice caves with 72 degree temperatures near these volcanoes. Of course it would be a problem for those who make their money from “global climate change” and rising sea levels.

  9. Electing public officials that support good ocean policies can help us protect marine life and our oceans. Do your research on candidates and make an informed decision, then exercise your right (and responsibility) to vote. And don’t let Election Day be the last time they hear from you. Follow up with your candidates and elected officials regularly to remind them of policies you care about. Your representatives and lawmakers might not know how important these issues are that face our oceans. But they will if you tell them. It’s up to constituents like you to make lawmakers aware of the crises facing marine life and our oceans. Don’t be shy! Take action with Oceana to directly contact your government representatives and lawmakers.

  10. Kwreggelsworth

    With the rising water levels, why don’t we build desalinization plants all over the world. Improve them to clean the water of pollution, not just salt. Use this water, not just to drink, but to refill the many aquifers, and to help crops as well. This could also help our soil depending what we leave in the water as fertilizer and minerals that our soils need. With the wildfires that have decimated Australia, Siberia, and the US, this could help to repair the land and help reforest the area.

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