CD Liner Notes

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img013Polar Shift: A Benefit for Antarctica 

Featuring Music by Vagelis, Yanni, Chris Spheeris, Paul Voudouris, Jim Chappell, Enya, Steve Howe, Constance Demby, Paul Sutin, John Tesh, Suzanne Ciani, Kitaro

inside cover

The land looks like a fairytale.
–Roald Amundsen, first man to reach the South Pole, 1911

Antarctica

Antarctica is the fifth largest landmass in the world, and the least known. It spends half its year in darkness, half in sunlight so intense that it reflects more than all the equatorial regions of the world absorb in a year.

It is the windiest, coldest, darkest, highest, most remote continent on Earth, a land of towering glaciers, fantastically sculpted in polished ice by storms that have no equal.

Antarctica has an overwhelming presence, and an extraordinary vulnerability. A single footprint may remain in the ice for decades, the effects of an oil spill could last forever.

For millions of years the continent lay untouched and unexplored at the bottom of the world, a terra incognita containing 70% of the Earth’s fresh water in its two mile thick icecap. With its masses of ice reflecting the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere, the continent has become the planet’s cooling center, helping to maintain the balance of temperature throughout the world.

Even with its perishing cold and howling storms, Antarctica shelters skuas, cormorants, penguins, and seals, and it’s oceans are some of the richest on Earth. Although nearly eradicated by humanity, whales come each summer to feed in the rich souther waters, bountiful with plankton and tiny, bioluminescent shrimplike krill, who’s scientific name means “true bright shining light.” At night the waters bloom with blue-green fire, a fluid, undulating aurora against the blackest black of the winter sea.

Though Antarctica’s position at the bottom of the world makes it strategically attractive, its value to science has so far superseded power politic. In 1959, 12 nations created the Antarctic Treaty, freezing territorial claims and establishing guidelines to manage the continent for peaceful and scientific purposes. Now 39 nations have signed the Treaty. In many ways, it has been a model for international cooperation.

Many sorts of scientific studies are carried out there. Antarctica’s pristine environment, fore example, makes it ideal for measuring changes in pollution and climate, such as the hole in the ozone layer.

Unfortunately, scientists have also concluded that beneath his pristine wilderness might lie rich deposits of oil and minerals. Proposed modifications to the Antarctic Treaty would open up Antarctica to mineral and oil exploitation. Most of the oil exploration would occur int he fragile coastal zones where a spill would cause certain disaster of unthinkable proportions.

[…]

It is imperative that the waters around Antarctica remain unpolluted. […] Change can no longer come in the luxury of centuries. Over and over we have seen the consequences of averting our eyes to potential environmental devastation. The arrogance of our avoidance causes death and suffering, and it compromises our children’s future. Sometimes Nature miraculously recovers, despite us; but with the special fragility of Antarctica, there will likely be no second chance. Can we afford to take the risk?

Some Organizations Working to Protect Antartica (list)

More Information (books and videos)

Credits and Thank You’s

Reorder Information

For Antarctica, To the Cousteau Society

I strongly encourage the Antarctic Treaty nations to take immediate action to protect Antarctica as a Natural Reserve dedicated to peace and science, free forever from the threat of mineral exploitation.

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