December 1st, 2016 marked the 57th anniversary of The Antarctica Treaty System and is designated Antarctica Day. On that date in history 12 nations signed an agreement setting aside 10% of the Earth “forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes in the interest of mankind”. It was the first nuclear-arms agreement and the first institution to govern all human activities in an international region with no sovereign jurisdiction.
The original signers of the Treaty were the 12 countries active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957–58. The twelve countries that had significant interests in Antarctica at the time were: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. The total number of Parties to the Treaty is now 53.
For this reason, I start December’s blog entries recognizing Antarctica Day. I originally started writing this entry on December 1st, but reluctantly had to wait until today to actually publish the entry.
For those that know me well, or have paid attention to partially what I have written here at this blog and on other Social Media, I have always wanted to visit, work, or serve in some small part on the continent of Antarctica. On Thursday, coinciding with the anniversary of the Treaty signing; one of my boyhood heroes, Astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, was visiting Antarctica and had to be medically airvac’ed with the cooperation of the National Science Foundation off the continent to a hospital in New Zealand. It was an interesting news day for me.
This entry is in dedication to the brave, the impassioned, the intelligent, the hard-working, the hard-living, the patriotic, the scientists, the firemen, the cooks, the welders, the pilots, the laborers, the crazy and nearly insane people who choose to live six months of each year living and working on the bottom of the Earth in the interest of preserving the unique terrain, wildlife, and resources of the frozen continent. I salute each man and woman working there; who pledge to uphold the articles and principles of the Antarctica Treaty.
Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only
Freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica and cooperation toward that end … shall continue
Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available
No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting , supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica. No new claim, or enlargement of an existing claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica shall be asserted while the present Treaty is in force.
To promote the objectives and ensure the observance of the provisions of the Treaty,
“All areas of Antarctica, including all stations, installations and equipment within those areas … shall be open at all times to inspection “
The Governments of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, the French Republic, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Union of South Africa, The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America,
Recognizing that it is in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord;
Acknowledging the substantial contributions to scientific knowledge resulting from international cooperation in scientific investigation in Antarctica;
Convinced that the establishment of a firm foundation for the continuation and development of such cooperation on the basis of freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica as applied during the International Geophysical Year accords with the interests of science and the progress of all mankind;
Convinced also that a treaty ensuring the use of Antarctica for peaceful purposes only and the continuance of international harmony in Antarctica will further the purposes and principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations;
Have agreed…(READ THE ENTIRE TREATY)
From Polar Educators International, Enjoy their video, “Antarctica Day”. Someday, I may post a video of my own.