Deception Island – a place for hope

Three Bainies set out on a life-changing expedition to Antarctica in March.  They have now returned and we will be publishing their final posts, favorite pictures and reflections on our blog over the next few weeks.  Thalia, an AC from Mexico City, wrote this last post from Antarctica on an eye-opening experience during their final days.

After filling our eyes with so many beautiful and indescribable landscapes, we visited Whaler’s Bay on Deception Island. Years ago, Whaler’s Bay was a place where slaughtered whales were brought to be processed for oil extraction. You can imagine what a drastic change this was compared to the white, intact and pure places we have been these past days… I felt in shock, just like those painful seconds in the polar plunge when you feel the freezing water on your body like a thousand needles on your skin.  However, I think this was the best way to prepare us for the end of the trip.

Deception Island

Whaler’s Bay is a stark example of the impact humans can have on the environment. Making this stop made us reflect on and actually witness the negative things we are capable of doing. We hear, read and learn all the time about climate change, pollution, waste, endangered species, etc. but it is not until you are standing in front of a quasi-cemetery/murder scene that it really gets to you. We were also struck by humans’ careless impact when we saw a massive piece of ice that had cracked and separated from the continent because of the unnatural temperature rise we’ve caused.

This Expedition has been a combination of witnessing amazing, positive things coupled with other very sad and negative things that have mostly been caused by our own species. But the good news is that we have the chance to do something about this. Whaler’s Bay was shut down once it wasn’t necessary to get oil from whales to use for light; when electricity was created, this approach became obsolete. Innovation and new technologies can contribute to setting new trends, and if we as consumers act together as market drivers in search of a positive change, then companies will have more incentives for including corporate responsibility and sustainability in their businesses.

Being so far away from the “real world” and having no contact with the rest of civilization has in some way put us all in a bubble. This last landing, I believe, helped get us out of the bubble and to realize that it is in our hands to create change. It is up to us to come back and share these stories with others not only about the negative impact we have caused or continue to cause, but more importantly about the opportunities we have today to create the future we want.

 

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