Sea Hero: JOHN WELLER
Scuba Diving|September/October 2020
How one photographer’s mission to save the Ross Sea is bringing the planet together
JOHN WELLER

I am a storyteller,” John Weller, 46, says modestly of his award-winning work. “I try to use storytelling to illuminate important issues.” One area in particular has dominated Weller’s life for close to two decades: Antarctica’s Ross Sea, Earth’s last intact ocean habitat. Working with organizations in more than two dozen countries, his photographs of the Ross Sea and his international initiative The Last Ocean became the face of Antarctic conservation, reaching hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide and helping drive the adoption of the world’s largest marine protected area, covering 600,000 square miles. “I wish I could give you the experience of being in that room when this happened,” Weller told an audience in his hometown of Boulder, Colorado, earlier this year. “Nations were literally hugging other nations. In a world that is more and more divided, this is what we need. Though this was a massive win for Antarctica—a massive win for our oceans—it really was a peace treaty.”

Q: Why is this an important habitat to conserve?

A: Antarctica is hurtling toward a cliff, as are all its creatures. In mere decades, climate change has transformed the environment. More than 90 percent of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula are in rapid retreat. A dozen have collapsed completely—and this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Antarctica as a whole is melting at an accelerating rate, changing the physical nature of the continent and driving sea-level rise. If these trends continue, most coastal cities will be underwater in a few centuries.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM SCUBA DIVINGView All
RELATED STORIES

A circumnavigator's favorite ocean films

A still from the documentary Maiden, which tells the story of the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989-90.

5 mins read
Ocean Navigator
January- February 2021

Antarctica

A Global Meltdown

3 mins read
ArtTour International Magazine
Fall 2020

RETURN TO 60° SOUTH

OCEAN RACER NICK MOLONEY RETURNED TO THE DEEP SOUTH WITH A MEMORABLE VOYAGE TO ANTARCTICA

10+ mins read
Yachting World
November 2020

One Good Bottle

Tamara Irish is a natural winemaker. Way natural.

2 mins read
Saveur
Fall 2020

In Search of Terra Incognita

The risk one runs in exploring these unknown and Icy Seas is so very great, that I can be bold to say, that no man will ever venture farther than I have done and that the lands which may lie to the South will never be explored. ~ British Captain James Cook

10+ mins read
Russian Life
September/October 2020

ARCTIC TRUCKS. MARS ROVER

Advancing Humanity

6 mins read
4LOW Offroad Magazine
December 2019/January 2020

AirBnb To Train Volunteers For Science Research Sabbatical

Airbnb is offering a handful of people concerned about the environment a chance to participate in scientific research on how to help preserve it during an all-expense-paid trip to Antarctica.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
September 27, 2019

Antarctica Is Losing Ice 6 Times Faster Today Than In 1980s

Antarctica is melting more than six times faster than it did in the 1980s, a new study shows.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
January 18, 2019

Antarctica- The Ultimate Expedition

Journey to Antarctica for the thrill of a lifetime.

4 mins read
Global Traveler
December 2018

Antarctica ​​​​​​​And Us

To stay wild, Antarctica needs us to keep it that way. Documentarian Fraser Morton reminds us of our relationship with the Last Great Wilderness, as he documents his incredible ClimateForce expedition with a polar legend.

6 mins read
BBC Earth
September 2018