Antarctica and the Southern Ocean comprise a critical part of the Earth System. Their environments are better understood than ever before, yet the region remains poorly considered among international agreements to improve the state of the global environment. In part the situation owes to isolated regional regulation within the Antarctic Treaty System, and in part to the dated notion that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are well conserved and relatively free from human impact. Here we review growth in knowledge of Antarctic environments and anthropogenic pressures on them. We show that the region's unusual diversity is facing substantial local and globally mediated anthropogenic pressure, on a par with environments globally. Antarctic environmental management and regulation is being challenged to keep pace with the change. Much benefit can be derived from consideration of Antarctic environmental and resource management in the context of global agreements.