Geneviève Pons – Antarctica is a truly special place. Not only because of its immense icy beauty and amazing wildlife, but as a shining symbol of the power of countries working together for the common good.
However, this image is fast being eroded, just like its glaciers due to climate change. Last week the member states to the body that is tasked with protecting Antarctic marine life – the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) – failed again to agree to protect the mighty Southern Ocean surrounding this vast yet vulnerable continent.
At the height of the Cold War, the USA, the Soviet Union and others agreed to find common ground in Antarctica and set it aside for peace, science and the benefit of all. 60 years on, the Cold War is over, but the planet is over-heating.
My love of the ocean started from a very early age, with my childhood growing up by the sea in Tunisia. Throughout my career, working in the European Commission as well as heading up NGOs, environmental and ocean issues have been a priority. In 2018, when I was invited to join Antarctica2020, a group of high-level influencers to support protection of the Southern Ocean, I did not hesitate. I dived straight in.
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