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Canterbury student heads to Chile, Antarctica


This summer, a University of Canterbury (UC) Chemistry and Law student is heading to Chile and Antarctica to represent Christchurch and New Zealand at the Antarctic Cities Youth Expedition in December.

Caleb Fraser, aged 20, is one of five young people (18-29 years) chosen from the world’s Antarctic Gateway cities to travel with researchers to the Antarctic Peninsula as part of an international research project called ‘Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons’.

He says he’s especially concerned about how greenhouse emissions could affect Antarctica’s future.

“I want to fight for this continent,” Caleb says.

He will travel to Punta Arenas on 29 November, from where the expedition will depart to King George Island, Antarctica, staying 1-9 December.

Caleb told The Press: “I’m really looking forward to it. I'm going to meet a bunch of people who are very knowledgeable and come back to Christchurch and spread the word.”

Caleb produced a video submission which was praised by the judges, including Senior Lecturer Dr Daniela Liggett of UC’s Gateway Antarctica. Gateway Antarctica is the Centre for Antarctic Studies and Research at UC. The centre plays a leading role in national and international Antarctic research projects.

“Caleb produced a well-researched and inspired video that communicated his own enthusiasm for the Antarctic as well as why the citizens in the Antarctic Gateway cities should act as custodians for the great Southern continent,” Dr Liggett says.

“Caleb convinced the selection panel both with intelligent and thoughtful answers to our questions and his very engaging and relatable manner. He seems to have the dedication and maturity as well as a natural connection to other people that we were looking for.”

Christchurch, along with Hobart (Australia), Punta Arenas (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), and Cape Town (South Africa) are the cities most connected to the Antarctic in the world. They are formally recognised international gateways through which most travel to the ice region happens. In these cities, Antarctica has exercised a powerful hold on the urban imagination since the late nineteenth century and it’s an important factor in how these cities imagine their futures.

Caleb will attend the Antarctic Season Opening celebration and dinner on 4 October.

The Antarctic Cities Youth Expedition
Caleb will travel to the city of Punta Arenas, Chile, where he will meet young people from the other Antarctic ‘gateways’ and researchers from the Australian Research Council funded project ‘Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons’.

The group will travel with the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) to Julio Escudero Base on King George Island, Antarctic Peninsula, from 1-9 December 2019. While in Antarctica, the young people will experience what it is like to live, work and do research there and visit a range of international research stations. They will take part in discussions about how the ‘gateway’ cities can together act as custodians of the region and how to develop an Antarctic Youth Coalition. Sponsors including Latin America CAPE, Antarctica New Zealand and the Antarctic Heritage Trust will fund Caleb’s travel to South America.

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