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Visit 2041.com for more details on Robert Swan’s 2041 mission and on IAE (“Inspire Antarctica Expedition”).
As a concept and a deadline, 2041 is linked not only with the fate of Antarctica, but with the fortunes of the whole planet. It's not only the year that the international treaty that protects the world's most remote continent expires. It's also a sort of signpost for a time when a number of cataclysmic environmental developments might converge:
2041 is the year when greenhouse gas emissions, if they follow current trends, will rise to 700 gigatons per annum (seven hundred billion tons annually), a level projected to induce a five-degree rise in average global temperature over the next century. Global warming will have become a reality, triggering extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels and resource shortages that will cause widespread disruptions to life as we know it.
Given current use patterns and rates of increase in energy demands, 2041 is the year when global oil production will drop below 20-million barrels a day - the accepted level necessary for sustaining industrialized civilization.
2041 is the year when sea levels will have risen .5 meters, given current trends in accelerated glacier and ice cap melt on the margins of Greenland and Antarctica. A half-meter rise renders untenable one-tenth of human shoreline habitation. For example, half the roadways in Cairn, Australia will be underwater. Extreme sea level - the measurement of high seas during hurricanes and storm surges - will displace 200 million people, and impact a fifth of the world's population, over one billion people.
2041 is the year when the last Alaskan polar bear will have starved to death in the wild - again, extrapolating from current trends, in this case of habitat destruction and population decline. All in all, in 2041 extinction rates on earth will have approached an unimaginable threshold, with one million land-based species gone forever.
2041 is the year when the last of the snows made famous by Ernest Hemingway will have melted off Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya, and the last of the glaciers will have disappeared from Montana's Glacier National Park.
By raising public awareness of these many perils, Swan hopes to inspire people to make changes starting today before the lives of our children are irrevocably harmed. Antarctica 2041 is ultimately an upbeat call for action--a positive manifesto by a committed, positive-thinking zealot who, by his own example, can show the practical steps that we can take to preserve our planet, starting with the bellwether that is Antarctica.
NOTE TO EDUCATORS: Robert Swan is pleased to announce the launch of 2041's "Coolest Curriculum". Visit: http://education.2041.com/
This website is a flexible resource containing lesson plans and a wide range of activities to develop the knowledge, skills and most importantly the values needed to preserve Antarctica and create positive change to protect the future of our planet.