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Preservation amenity, research laboratory, or mineral reserve? International perspectives on the values of Antarctica

Journal article
Authors T. Tin
J. Peden
J. O'Reilly
Kees Bastmeijer
P. T. Maher
Published in Polar Record
Volume 55
Issue 2
Pages 61-71
ISSN 0032-2474
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Law
Pages 61-71
Language en
Keywords Antarctic Treaty, environmental management, public perception, tourism, wilderness
Subject categories Law, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Inspired by notions of interest of humankind and intergenerational equity, we explored Antarctic perceptions of a subset of future generations - university students. Students at three universities in Canada, the Netherlands, and the USA were surveyed to determine the relationships between nationality, academic major, opinions on values of Antarctica, and support for a range of human activities in Antarctica (n = 618). Logistic regression was used to model the relationship of these variables with support for designation of Antarctica as a wilderness reserve, construction of new research stations, and mining. Compared with business and economics majors, biological sciences and natural resources/conservation majors were more likely to support wilderness designation and less likely to support mineral resource development. Nationality was not significantly associated with support for construction of new research stations and mineral resource development. Opinions on the value of Antarctica and support for activities also exhibited significant influences on dependent variables. Consistent with earlier studies of Antarctic scientists, personnel, tourists, and other members of the general public, university students valued Antarctica as one of the world's last great wildernesses (66%), an important component of the Earth's climate system (66%), and a science laboratory for the benefit of mankind (62%). © 2019 Cambridge University Press.

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