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The Last Continent

The Last Continent

Author: PBS NewsHour

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About 200 years ago, Antarctica was barely an idea. Today it's a world of scientific possibility. How did we get here -- and what will happen as climate change continues to threaten this pristine land and the creatures that call it home? From the PBS NewsHour, an original four-part series on Antarctica -- the continent, its creatures, the scientists and the threats that lie ahead.
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On a big white cruise ship, 140 tourists have paid thousands of dollars for a rare first-hand tour of Antarctica. Humans didn't set foot on the continent until about 200 years ago, but now, it draws more than 50,000 visitors a year. Why are people going today -- and how does this journey compare to the famous "Heroic Age" trek by Ernest Shackleton about a century before?
Ron Naveen has been counting penguins on a remote, inhospitable stretch of Antarctica for nearly four decades. He's one of the few people who still counts these adorable, flightless, slightly awkward birds by hand. Penguins have survived a host of environmental changes over 60 million years. But Naveen says climate change could mean the end for two species of his favorite Antarctic birds. Here's why.
Over thousands of years, humans built civilizations on every other continent on Earth. But it wasn't until the 1800s that we arrived on Antarctica. Today, it's still a place with no indigenous population, no official government and not a single paved road. And thanks to a unique Cold War diplomatic breakthrough, Antarctica today remains a continent dedicated largely to science. How and why did humans first arrive in Antarctica? And what is it like for the men and women who live there now?
Antarctica is covered almost entirely by thick sheets of ice, but that ice is now slipping away at an accelerating rate. Many researchers say that as the Earth continues to warm, more and more of the continent's ice will end up in the ocean. What will climate change mean for coastal communities across the globe as the sea levels rise?
Preview: The Last Continent

Preview: The Last Continent

2019-04-1600:02:14

On April 24, the PBS NewsHour releases its first original podcast series, "The Last Continent," a four-part journey to Antarctica.
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