Today, 1st December, is officially Antarctica Day! So I hope you’re dressed as penguins right now, munching iceberg lettuce at your street parties with snowflake paper chains from lamp-post to lamp-post.
Why is there an Antarctica Day?
On the 1st December 1959 12 nations signed the Antarctic Treaty. This set aside 10% of the Earth to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, becoming the world’s first nuclear-arms agreement. Antarctica Day is to recognise the landmark agreement between the 12 original nations and 35 additional nations who have accepted the treaty. It is a day to celebrate peace and international cooperation manifested through Antarctic science, exploration and culture.
On a related topic, Christchurch – the portal to Antarctica for New Zealanders, Americans and Italians – recently celebrated all things Antarctica with a month-long Ice Fest. I helped out with some of the events including a Flakes, Blobs and Bubbles art project which taught children about ice core science. And here’s a little video I put together of IceFest: