I am pleased to announce that Australia, the largest island in the world, has just been dramatically increased in size. Martin Ferguson, Federal Resources Minister

Australia, seemingly overnight or in a split second indeed, has grown 2.5 million square kilometres OR twenty times the size of the United Kingdom, the SMH reported last week. However, as always and of course, not all is exactly as it seems: the land granted by the UN, granted after at least 15 years of Australian persistence, is all UNDERWATER. Yes, all of it, and Australia’s control of the land does not extend to the waterways on the surfaces of the oceans in question. What we have, in fact, is an extension of our continental shelf every which way:

Three dimensional land configurations reappearing in differing guises, most commonly seen clad in the language of airspace, Australia is creeping back down into the shores we once slithered out of, returning to the ocean to look for, among other varied resources, OIL OIL OIL!!! Three letters signifying clout in trade and commerce alike, signifying also a commodity to run out of soon enough. All this having been said, Australia does indeed need oil. Nor should any of us ever forget Brendan Nelson’s (current Australian Opposition leader, then Minister for Defense) admission that troops were kept in Iraq for this blackest of worldly golds, reported here. Lest we forget how consumer petrol prices rose when we invaded Iraq.

Of course, the United Nations granting land is exactly how these things should come about, in contrast to Russia mid last year sticking what may as well have been a Soviet flag in the floor of the Arctic ocean, claiming the land in question to be an extension of its continental shelf. Countries such as Canada were, for obvious reasons, seriously pissed off and compared the action to 15th century land-grabbing.

[2007 TIME magazine person of the year: seriously dangerous land-grabber]

Anyway, returning to the Artic’s southern conterpart, the only continent without native human population, Antarctica, we read that Australia will not be mining in its new sub-Antarctic lands. In a world where our ice shelves are melting at an already alarming rate, where the Northwest passage may actually soon open up (trade shifts resultant may be fascinating, however, seriously, the northwest passage is melting…), it is clear that we should not be mining in such volatile regions. This is why the Antarctic Treaty System is so important. I urge you to read about it at Cool Antarctica, a website very informative for those interested in the land.