Tourism: A Threat to Antarctica’s Ecosystem

August 31, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. danger /ˈdeɪn dʒər/ (n.) – something bad or harmful
Example: Everyone must know the danger of throwing garbage anywhere.

2. remote /rɪˈmoʊt/ (adj.) – being in a distant place
Example: Endangered species can mostly be found in remote areas.

3. frequent /frɪˈkwɛnt, ˈfri kwənt/ (v.) – to visit habitually
Example: The actor frequents Asian countries for his environmental campaign.

4. invasive /ɪnˈveɪ sɪv/ (adj.) – referring to something that spreads out in an undesirable way
ExampleInvasive plants grow rapidly in the Antarctic.

5. preservation /ˌprɛz ərˈveɪ ʃən/ (n.) – act of keeping something
Example: Planting more trees helps with the preservation of our ecosystem.


Read the text below.
A research published in the journal PLoS Biology suggests that tourism and other human activities could pose threats to Antarctica’s ecosystem.

Researchers from the National Environmental Research Programme (NERP) and the Australian Antarctic Division conducted the study. The study assessed the danger of external factors to Antarctica’s ecosystem like human activities.

Dubbed as one of the planet’s last true wildernesses, Antarctica is best known for its remote position relative to other continents. The continent’s isolation, according to experts, is what helped protect it. Despite this, the study found that Antarctica is the least protected region among all continents.

According to the researchers, Antarctica’s existing protected areas are gradually becoming damaged as thousands of people annually visit the continent. From 5,000 in 1990 to 40,000 today, these multitude of people frequent small ice-free areas. Although these areas make up only about 1% of the continent, they are home to most of Antarctica’s flora and fauna. Only 1.5% of these ice-free areas are specifically protected.

These protected zones are not protected from human activities. Professor Steven Chown of Monash University believed that these human activities bring invasive species that can be a threat to the continent’s biodiversity.

The researchers suggested that stricter implementation of rules and regulations must be observed for the preservation of the continent’s wildlife. According to them, if adequate protection for the areas is not given, the fragile and unique ecosystem of the continent will be lost in no time.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think it is a good initiative to limit the number of tourists in Antarctica? Why or why not?
·          What else should be done to protect Antarctica’s ecosystem?

Discussion B

·         What do you think will happen if many animal and plant species vanish? Please explain.
·         What could one do to protect and preserve the ecosystem?

August 31, 2014