THE ANTARCTIC CONFLICTS
Speculative future dealing with fluctuating boundaries
Happy Antarctica Independence Day! ︎
#freedom #cold #penguins
The start of the Antarctic Conflicts began in 2048 with the Expiration of Antarctic Treaty of 1961. The treaty set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishing freedom of scientific investigation, banning military activity on the continent. The map above shows the locations of permanent science bases and the contested territorial claims that were in stasis since 1961. The main reasons for the breakdown of the treaty is the discovery of oil beneath the ice and the development of a cost-effective method of oil extraction. There is an estimated 200 billion barrels of oil in Antarctica. The conflict was also fueled with the continent’s lack of native human population, people that advocate for the cause.
Near the end of 2048, we see the initial military holdings that countries took after the breakdown of the treaty, some based on previous claims, others by military invasion. Many smaller countries and residents of the former scientific bases retreated to the unclaimed section of the Antarctic. Certain sections of the Antarctic became at risk with massive land deterioration. We see those sections highlighted in red.
The major military powers of the world – United States, India, Japan, China, Russia – began amassing more land and military bases, with Australia and Argentina struggling to maintain their claim. The military warfare, along with oil excavation, exacerbate predictions from climate change, causing large chucks of ice to break off & melt. To mitigate the lost, some nations attempted to make artificial lands, attached to the island, seeded by ice formation. The geologists/scientists stranded in the unclaimed section, shocked and angered by the destruction caused by the governments of the world, denounce their personal nationalities and form a nation of Antarctica, under their own flag.
More Antarctic land is lost, while the artificial land has stabilized. Using their extensive scientific expertise, knowledge of the Antarctic landscape, and hacking of communication technology (e.g. High-altitude balloons for telescopes) citizens of Antarctica gain more territorial claims. Outside of the 5 major powers, the Nation of Antarctica gains sympathy and support from other nations, Their pro-scientific and nature-protector status appeals to people’s love to the underdog, David vs. goliath.
Towards the beginning of 2050, the Nation of Antarctica held claim to majority of the continent, allowing the other countries to stay with demilitarized bases, more embassy in nature. Antarctica is allowed representation in the United Nations and began official trade relationships with other countries overseen by the World Trade Organization. Antarctica celebrates their independence every June 1, with the start of Antarctic winter and the viewing window for the southern lights. Their main export being the following: Scientific specimens, Renewable energy sources, Controlled tourism, & Global satellite information. Oil mining ended for its environmental impacts.