Qualifying Problem - Antarctica
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Antarctica, the highest, driest, coldest continent, has no permanent population and is governed by a collection of agreements between fifty-four countries. The Antarctic Treaty System designates the entire continent and surrounding waters for scientific endeavors, bans military activity, and promotes environmental research and preservation. Although Antarctica remains the most remote place on Earth, it is highly regulated and heavily impacted by activities around the globe. Parts of the continent are polluted by sewage, discarded machinery, fuel products, and rubbish. Antarctica is thought to be rich in minerals and resources, though an 'indefinite' ban on mining is in place through 2048. Antarctica also holds over 60% of the Earth's fresh water in an ice sheet that contains 90% of the Earth's total ice volume. As global temperatures rise, these are breaking apart and melting faster, endangering local wildlife and entire ecosystems. Without a consistent population or a sovereign state, Antarctica possesses a unique space within political, economic, and environmental crossroads. How can Antarctica be sustainably utilized yet simultaneously preserved to best benefit our global population?