A Battle with Nature
Word about the IPY site is starting to get around! We just received an extremely well-written and passionate note from one of our past participants.
A Battle with Nature
by Sharon Querido - SOI Antarctic past participant
In late August 2005, a horrible tragedy struck the nation: Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, Louisiana. As the police lost control, anarchy in its worst form began to rise within the area. Though many people believe lawlessness can only lead to chaos, I have experienced anarchy as a utopia. Antarctica, exempt from governmental control by any country through the Antarctic Treaty of 1961, has become a peaceful, international territory. In December of 2005, I was invited to attend an educational expedition to Antarctica to experience for myself the unique peace not only among the scientific communities in the area, but also between human and nature.
Esperanza, an Argentinean scientific base and the only Antarctic base that accommodates families, is an anarchic utopia in every way. Contrary to analogous societies, Esperanza is under no law restraints from an enforcing body. Instead, stability is preserved through honest choices to abide by established rules or guidelines. Through respect for the rules, the residents of this community act in order to improve the lives of themselves and others
in their community. During a walking tour of the base, I witnessed a father and his son carrying a large beam of lumber across the campus. It appeared that the teenaged son was struggling to lift the piece of wood. As they slowly made their way across the path, others joined their effort to relocate the board. Under this system, Esperanza has proven that through using rules and generosity to guide their choices, a community can maintain
Technically, Antarctica is under law concerning the treatment of wildlife in the region. However, devoid of an enforcing organization, these laws act as guidelines. Within the domain of the lawless Antarctica, both humans and nature live harmoniously. The British base of Port Lockery was built directly on a large penguin rookery. As soon as I had learned this, I was skeptical of the respect the humans had shown the penguins as
they built their shelter. When I arrived on the base, I was surprised to find that the base seemed to have been built under the penguin rookery, rather than on top. Penguin nests covered the campus of the base. The flagpole was shelter to several penguin families, while the steps of the post office housed many more. Situating nests along human pathways, both penguins and humans demonstrated mutual respect as they lived side by side.
This trip not only taught me of the potentially harmonious co-existence of nature and humanity, but also of the possibility of avoiding chaotic anarchy through appreciating nature