Science, environment and empire on the frozen continent
In the century since Great Britain made the first formal claim of sovereignty over the peninsula region of the Antarctic, fears that each of the now seven claimants to various pie-shaped pieces of the continent is “not doing enough” to justify their contested (and, in the case of Britain, Argentina and Chile, overlapping) territorial claims rise with predictable certainty. Just last year, for example, the Australian government was “being warned Australia is in danger of losing its position as an Antarctic leader, as well as its claim over the frozen continent, unless it maintains funding for its scientific research program” (Norman 2016). As Adrian Howkins outlines in Frozen Empires: An Environmental History of the Antarctic Peninsula, scientific research activities played the same role in the 1980s, when British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher celebrated the fact that British scientists working in Antarctica had discovered the “hole” in the ozone layer, thereby playing a central...
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