Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Stephens: The Antarctic Treaty System and the Anthropocene

Tim Stephens (Univ. of Sydney - Law) has posted The Antarctic Treaty System and the Anthropocene (Polar Journal, forthcoming). Here's the abstract:
Despite Antarctica’s isolation, the Anthropocene’s signature is inscribed deeply there, from the ozone hole etched in the southern sky to the cleaving of the ice shelves into the Southern Ocean. The Antarctic Treaty sought to quarantine Antarctica from the nuclear technologies that heralded the advent of the Anthropocene, and the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) is imbued with a romantic environmental ideal of Antarctica as a pristine wilderness that needs only to be left alone to be protected. But in the Anthropocene it is the global forces let loose by human hands that are transforming Antarctica, rather than any activities on the continent itself. What does this mean for our legal imaginings of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean? What might an ATS that understands and responds to the challenges of the Anthropocene look like?