The 11th annual Antarctica Day is nearly upon us! If you're new to this holiday, welcome! You're joining a global community of people on all continents, not just Antarctica, who are celebrating this unique and invaluable place.
Antarctica Day is held on Dec. 1st to recognize the anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty 62 years ago. Thanks to the Treaty, Antarctica is still a place of peace and global cooperation. There's a lot to celebrate, but how exactly?
Unlike most holidays, Antarctica Day is still too young to have longstanding traditions, so people observe it in many different ways. In other words, you're free to celebrate this day however you see fit. By doing so, you could shape future celebrations and traditions. If you're wondering how to get started, we have a few suggestions below. You can also take a look at last year's Antarctica Day post for even more recommendations.
The easiest way to explore Antarctica is from your armchair! Here are some of our suggestions for Antarctic-related media.
There's a wealth of Antarctic movies and TV shows out there from every genre. For lovers of documentaries, there's Encounters at the End of the World from famed director Werner Herzog. There's also Disney's Penguins, a more recent documentary that's appropriate for all ages. Amundsen is a Norwegian movie based on the true story of the explorer who first reached the South Pole.
If fiction is more your style, you might like Where'd You Go Bernadette, a movie in which the U.S. Palmer Station gets a feature. For fans of the classic Antarctic horror The Thing, check out The Head, which also centres around the strange and deadly events of a fictional Antarctic research station in winter.
2021 was a great year for Antarctic writing, with dozens of new Antarctic publications coming out. Antarktikos, a magazine combining science and art to tell compelling stories of Antarctica, will launch its first issue at the Dutch Polar Symposium in coordination with Antarctica Day. The Chilean Antarctic Institute just launched the Spanish-language Antarctica: Relatos de Exploradoras en el Corazón del Planeta (Antarctica: Stories of Women Explorers in the Heart of the Planet) which is available as a free ebook from the website linked above. Two weeks ago they also published the latest issue of Ilaia, an English magazine reviewing advances in Antarctic science. The beautiful (and gigantic) Antarctic Resolution is crammed with fascinating data visualizations, photos, stories, and research from across the continent.
For collectors and fans of Heroic Age explorers, check out the artist's book Endlessness which focuses on a pair of skis used by Apsley Cherry-Garrard on the Terra Nova expedition. The Folio Society also released a limited edition reproduction of Ernest Shackleton's account of the Nimrod expedition, Aurora Australis. If you're not up for shelling out $795 USD, you can also find cheaper versions here.
A Voyage to Antarctica is UK Antarctic Heritage Trust's podcast that explores a wide range of topics, from geopolitics to art, with some incredible guests such as Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Professor Klaus Dodds. Against the Odds is a retelling of Shackleton's famed Endurance expedition from podcast powerhouse Wonderly.
If you're not ready for a full podcast, check out the episode "Saving Antarctica" from BBC's World Service, which documents the incredible story of the 1980's campaign that led to the protection of Antarctica from gas and oil extraction. Or, if you want to settle in for a longer listen, here's a free audio version of Edgar Allen Poe's only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, which tells of a stowaway's journey south to Antarctica.
You can participate in many Antarctica Day events from anywhere in the world. For starters, you can join us in raising the True South flag of Antarctica in real life or online. (If you fly True South on your social media, be sure to tag us on Facebook or Instagram.)
There are also several virtual events such as the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists' webinar on Work and Life in Antarctic Research Stations, a talk from the UN's Southern Ocean Task Force, a lecture on India in Antarctica, and a seminar in Spanish about Colombia in Antarctica. Depending on where you are in the world, you might be able to participate in person at events such as the Dutch Polar Symposium or the public talk "Christchurch: From Antarctic Gateway to Custodial City" in New Zealand.
Antarctica Day is the perfect time to learn more about the continent. If you're curious for yourself, you can enrol in free courses online such as Antarctica: From Geology to Human History from Wellington University or Antarctic Futures: What Does Climate Change Mean for the Antarctic? from the University of Canterbury.
If you're a k-12 educator or you have a curious young person in your life, the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration has published some fascinating talks and activities for children five and up.
Antarctica Day isn't just about celebrating Antarctica's past and present, it's also about working toward a better future for the continent. Antarctica Day is a great day to make a simple resolution to change your behaviour in a way that reduces your environmental impact, such as committing to commuting by bike once a week. Big changes happen at a policy level, though, so you can also use this day to write to your representative and ask what they're doing to preserve Antarctica. (Click these links to find your representative in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, or India)
If you have the means to financially support conservation efforts, we suggest donating to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, the only nonprofit with observer status in the Antarctic Treaty regime. If you have a specific Antarctic mission you'd like to support (whale conservation, for example), you can also donate to any of the individual coalition members.
*Bonus* 5. Eat!
What's a good holiday without food to go along with it? Sure, Antarctica isn't known for its spectacular cuisine. If you want to eat like a true Antarctic winter-over, you'd have nothing but canned, dried, and frozen food. If you want to see how the Heroic Age explorers ate, you can try your hand at a pemmican recipe. If neither of those options sound appealing to you, you might like something from Antarctic Cook and Clean, perhaps the only Antarctic-centred cookbook.
Antarctica Day, like the continent itself, doesn't belong to a single person. You get to decide for yourself how you observe it, and the options don't end with this list. No matter what you choose to do, we hope you'll join us in celebrating this incredible place.
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Cover image source: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/news/a46171/keri-nelson-year-on-ice-antarctica-interview/