Public Values of the Antarctic Wilderness: A Comparison of University Students in Spain and the United States

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date


Publication Title

Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Tenth World Wilderness Congress symposium; 2013, 4-10 October, Salamanca, Spain


This paper summarizes preliminary results of a research study that investigated university students’ perceptions of Antarctic wilderness and reports on discussions of these results at a workshop held at the 10th World Wilderness Congress. The purpose of the research study was to determine whether nationality and cultural differences were associated with beliefs about Antarctica, relationships between humans and the Antarctic environment, and support for resource development and tourism activities—a small but important step in deciding how to best meet the requirements of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Results were presented at the World Wilderness Congress as part of the CoalitionWILD Workshop Series, which was targeted towards engaging young people under the age of 30 in conservation projects. Discussions in the CoalitionWILD Workshop highlighted the issues of: (i) use of technology in wilderness; (ii) the public’s lack of information about issues and threats to wilderness; and (iii) differences in what constitutes “wilderness” in the minds of people from different age groups, with different experiences, and different cultural backgrounds.