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What’s Green In Antarctica?

TIME : 2016/2/27 14:40:10

One of nature’s little quirks sees the world’s most southerly continent Antarctica, classified as a desert. Wikipedia states: “This polar desert is planet earth’s largest, coldest and driest region.” If this fact isn’t in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, then it should be.

Heading southwards to Antarctica in the summer of 2008, visions of whiteness, glaciers and penguins danced before my eyes….not green.

So what is green down below?


Ice-skating penguins

Ice-skating penguins lists 18 species of penguins worldwide, and the Antarctic continent

is the home ground where 4 species breed.

Adelie penguins have white around their eyes giving a constant surprised look, while the Chinstrap’s markings add a certain something to their black & white suits.

The Gentoo family follows the nesting norm, Antarctic style and gathers small pebbles into a circle nest. Stone envy is not uncommon in these environs and stealing is a common problem that sees neighborhood fights on a regular basis during the breeding season.

The unforgettable Emperor Penguin, star of the hit movie ‘Happy Feet’, holds the title of the world’s largest penguin. He also has the longest walk of all, up to 75 miles to court and breed during the Antarctic winter season on this amazing continent. What has been termed ‘The Biggest Crèche in the World’ sees around 25,000 Emperor Penguins herding their young into huddles to conserve warmth and save them from freezing to death.

NB: My up close and personal green encounter with frozen algae on Petermann Island wasn’t that dramatic, just my downfall. One fractured coccyx later saw me envying the young penguins as they learnt to ice skate on their slice of green Antarctica.

I wouldn’t change anything about this amazing and precious part of our world. Let’s hope Antarctica stays as green as she is, tourism, scientists, technology and Mars notwithstanding.