Warning signs from Antartica

Warning signs from Antartica

Film screening

We continue to see and hear scientists predicting doomsday owing to our indiscriminate activities on the face of the earth. From rising sea levels to the size of the Ozone hole and many rare species dying, the changes in the world’s climatic conditions are apparent. The conditions are even greatly visible in “the world’s most undiscovered continent — Antarctica”.

There is high rate of glaciers melting. Rare species like the indigenous housefly called the Common Fly are on the verge of facing extinction and many of the penguins are migrating to far off areas to find colder habitats, a phenomenon named as ‘Penguin suicides’. Contemplating on some of these signs was Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning (2009) presented by CMS Vatavaran, an environment and wildlife
film festival forum.

Written and directed by filmmaker Mark Terry, the 52- minute film is an exploration of the various environmental challenges faced by the frozen continent and, by extension, the world. The film also features a couple of scientists working at the Vernadsky Station, Ukraine.

Few parts of the film depict the rate of melting ice through impactful time-lapse photography. The film also notes that 46 Giga tonnes of water are being added to the world’s sea levels which could lead to the world’s coastal areas being most affected. It also traces the dramatic rise in temperatures which has contributed
to rampant melting of the ice sheets. A perspective into the life and habitat of the continent, the film documents the scientists’ minute-to-minute reading and research
in progress.

One of the many scientists studying Antarctica, Dr Julian Scott points out, “Antarctica depicts how difficult is the struggle to live in this harshland.”  Recording vibrations from nearby glaciers, he adds, “Seismic studies are being carried out every day”. While the film explains the science behind the phenomenon and how the impact has been over the years and will be, it also underlines that the most affected are the species found in the Peninsula. 

Dr David Ainley, an environment consultant mentions that with rising sea levels, “even half a degree change in climatic conditions will severely affect the food chain which will result in the food of the penguins — shrimps, squids, fishes dying”.
As some parts of the continent have started to see green vegetation, scientists attribute it to moisture below the snow, an unimaginable phenomenon in “the world’s largest desert”.

The film goes on to mention the implementation of the international community’s Antarctica Treaty which has prevented military activity and has enabled peaceful research over the years. At the same time, it appeals to the global community to actively demonstrate environmental practices to decrease the rate of ecological imbalance.

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