In recent weeks the world’s attention has been fixed on the Russia-Ukraine fight in Crimea, so many people are unaware of a less spectacular conflict over Antarctica – which, though it is far larger in land mass, and is basically uninhabited – is peaceful in every other way. In fact, the scenes photographer John Weller has documented there — an effort to draw attention to what’s at stake — are a stark contrast to the violent images coming out of Ukraine.
Antarctica contains what is believed to be the purest sea remaining on Earth, and in the effort to keep it that way, Russia is playing a similar villain’s role.
Antarctica’s Ross Sea, which encompasses 1.9 million square miles, is considered by biologists as the last body of saltwater in the world that is free from significant pollution, invasive species, mining and overfishing.
One might expect the Ross Sea to be far removed from the geopolitical conflicts that grip the world today, but in fact, Russia has for years prevented the pristine habitat from being protected, after Russian diplomats objected to the bill, questioning the very authority of the Commission for the Conservation of the Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) at a meeting in Germany in July 2013.
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