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Antarctic Science Foundation, caring about Antarctica

Decoding the information recorded deep within Antarctica’s ice may just unlock the climate solutions the world is seeking. 

Few intrepid souls will ever set foot on the icy magnificence that is Antarctica. So why should the rest of us cast our thoughts towards a destination we may never experience?

“Antarctica is the air conditioner of the world – it regulates global climate and oceans,” says Andrew Kelly, CEO of the Antarctic Science Foundation (ASF). 

“Antarctica is also what we call humanity's greatest library. It's just that we’ve barely read any of the books. Although humans have been down in Antarctica for about 100 years, we know very little about how the continent works.” 

Kelly explains that Antarctica contains about 50 million years of climate history within its ice. It’s here that a global record of the Earth and humanity’s imprint upon it has been recorded. Antarctica’s ice contains details of gases and particles that have been in the atmosphere over the last 25-to-50 million years. 

“When we do ice coring, we can go down through many layers of ice and extract longitudinal climate records to help us understand what's happened on Earth in the past and where we are right now in terms of climate disruption.

“Ice coring will also tell us what we need to do to mitigate that disruption, so we can continue to survive and flourish on this planet for generations to come.”

Antarctica may hold the key to decoding climate solutions and better managing Australia’s extreme weather events. “The more we know about Antarctica, the better we're all going to be.”

Caring about Antarctica is ASF’s remit. The charity brings together supporters that believe in the potential of Antarctica to provide the answers needed to sustain life on this planet. 

One group that has backed the non-profit’s mission is the Harris Estate Charitable Foundation (HECF). The relationship between ASF and HECF was brokered by Equity Trustees.

HECF recently extended its ASF funding for another year, building on its initial investment of last year.

Financial support makes a dramatic difference to ASF’s work. It funds research into ice-shelf mapping, the future of penguins in the face of melting ice, and related carbon absorption patterns. The continuation of the funding relationship between ASF and HECF also means the pair share an even stronger environmental passion. 

“An alignment of purpose with our funders and a belief in the scientific value of Antarctica is really important to us. It means that a funder always knows they are having impact in an area that they’re interested in and feel a sense of fulfilment.

“I believe that we are all looking for fulfilment. We're looking to make a difference in an area of our interest. Where we find that our interests align, now that's where an impact can be the most powerful.”