Antarctica’s living souls in danger

NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN) - Although we all show concern or pay lip service over the increasing phenomena of climate change, there is lack of discussions or community mobilisation as to how to conserve the environment and curb the phenomena of global warming, feels Shivangini Singh.

Singh was the part of 13-day Antarctica Expedition hosted by Robert Swan, Climate Force and The Explorer’s Passage in which over 90 individuals from across the world participated to generate leadership for climate change.

Having experienced the effects of global warming on the living organisms in the uninhabited cold desert of Antarctica, Singh feels that new initiatives are required for preserving the environment and natural resources for future generations.

A native of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh and presently working as an application developer in Bengaluru, she said the global warming is not only causing shifts in weather patterns, “but it is also threatening various living organisms, some of whom are on the verge of extinction.”

“In Antarctica, we observed that the population of the Adelie and Chinstrap penguin species are currently declining while the population of Gentoo species is increasing,” she said, adding, “this wasn’t the case in past.”

In the past, the temperature was far more cooler with abundance of adequate food source, Krill. The rising mercury has not only reduced their habitat but has also resulted in the significant reduction in the population of their food source, she added.

On the other hand, Gentoo penguins are thriving as they can survive in warmer climate and they happen to rely on fish too which eats krill.

“These are some of the dangerous phenomena, apart from the melting glaciers,  which are causing rise in sea level,” Singh said.

“First of all, government, volunteer agencies and communities, need to engage in afforestation on a large scale to bring about a change in the present scenario where open spaces that once donned green cover, are turning into concrete jungles.”

“There is also a need for developing community leaders who could fight for the cause of climate change and disseminate practical knowledge,” she said, adding adopting sources of renewable energy instead of fossil fuel should also be the focus of the governments.

The IT professional said the expedition was also a platform to unite people from all over the world to understand climate change as a real threat to our way of life and how Antarctica is central to that picture as it constitutes 90 percent of the world’s freshwater.

The expedition, held from 27 February to 12 March saw participation by Robert Swan, one of the world’s greatest living explorers, and the first person to walk on both the North and South Poles among a diverse set of people including students, climate change specialists, UN officials, scientists, actors and adventure enthusiasts.

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  • Antarctica’s living souls in danger

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