Defining and Valuing Wilderness in Antarctica
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Wilderness is a difficult term to define as it is a subjective concept. This paper uses three paradigms as a framework for discussing wilderness in general, and the Antarctic wilderness in particular. It looks at the Utilitarian view of wilderness; the view that wilderness is there to be used by man to ensure the greatest benefit for the greatest number. In contrast it looks at the Deep Ecology view of wilderness. This view sees wilderness as of intrinsic valuable, and human beings as just another part of the ecosystem with no right to damage it for any purpose. According to this view, man should get out of Antarctica and just allow the continent to be; to remain the last great wilderness. Finally, it looks at Libertarianism; the view that the Antarctic wilderness only has value in terms of its usefulness to human beings. This philosophy promotes private ownership as the way to protect the wilderness. The Antarctic Treaty System is then analysed in terms of these paradigms. It looks at which paradigm shaped the Treaty, finding that it was largely informed by the Utilitarian view. This changed in the 1980s when, with the failure of CRAMRA, there was a move towards a Deep Ecology paradigm with its emphasis on the intrinsic worth of the wilderness, and therefore the necessity of putting measures in place to protect it. This approach has been consistent up until today. However, future commercial pressures on the Antarctic wilderness may provide a catalyst to change this approach. These pressures may come from tourism companies wishing to expand tourism in the region, from firms wanting to carry out bioprospecting and from mining interests. This must result in a shift in the paradigm that shapes the working of the Antarctic Treaty System.
- Syndicate Reports