It was February 2022 when I started writing this essay, and I was returning from three weeks in Antarctica. As we flew back to Hobart I caught glimpses through the clouds of massive, glistening white, tabular icebergs suspended in semi-transparent sea ice in the intensely blue Southern Ocean below. From the sky the bergs look tiny, but are kilometres long. We had just completed intense work monitoring the moss beds in and around Casey Station. Two flights were due to leave Wilkins Aerodrome that day - ours and a second flight, an Australian Airforce C-17, that would bring the rest of the team and our precious cargo of samples back to Tasmania, the first step in their journey to the Janet Cosh Herbarium at the University of Wollongong. This is where the moss would be identified and added to the only set of data monitoring long-term continental Antarctic vegetation - data that have revealed how humanity's changes to our climate are damaging even these remote ecosystems.
Available for download on Thursday, February 01, 2024