Tuesday, 29 April 2014

On The Front Lines Of Climate Change, Antarctica's Scientists And Penguins Fight For World's Attention (PHOTOS)

Last November, New Zealand outdoorsman Michael Armstrong was watching a cricket match in his local pub when he thought of penguins. A friend had told him about a program that was sending an explorer-in-training to Antarctica to study the effects of climate change, and the application was due in a few hours.

"I thought about this sort of angle where I could talk about the penguins being dressed in tuxedos and Antarctica being their ballroom, but their ballroom was under threat because of global warming and climate change," he recently told The Huffington Post.

The pitch Armstrong made and that of student filmmaker Marli Lopez-Hope were selected from 2,000 applications to participate in Air New Zealand's "No Ordinary Place, No Ordinary Assignment" program. The goal was to highlight the growing peril Earth is facing even in one of its harshest environments.

The pair went to Antarctica with National Geographic photographer Jason Edwards. Together, they spent two weeks in January living atNew Zealand's Scott Base, including three days sleeping on the Ross Ice Shelf among 40,000 breeding pairs of the Adelie penguins. Armstrong and Lopez-Hope assisted with ongoing research projects, including drilling for ice samples, tagging penguins and mapping the ice shelf.

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