Arctic Doom, Arctic Boom: The Geopolitics of Climate Change in the Arctic

Arctic Doom, Arctic Boom: The Geopolitics of Climate Change in the Arctic

Arctic Doom, Arctic Boom: The Geopolitics of Climate Change in the Arctic

Arctic Doom, Arctic Boom: The Geopolitics of Climate Change in the Arctic

Synopsis

The ongoing, accelerating Arctic thaw is recalibrating the ecosphere around the North Pole at an ever-increasing rate. With the Northwest and Northeast Passages simultaneously opening up in 2008 for the first time in history, it is also making the region much more accessible to commercial interests. Can a balance between enterprise and the environment be struck in the Arctic?

Excerpt

The day of the arctic is upon us

To understand sustainable living in the Arctic, you have to have sustained thinking in the Arctic. You have to live it, over time. As Barry Zellen knows from his years in the Canadian north, those of us who live in the Arctic and sub-Arctic have a unique perspective that may surprise those from more temperate climes. the latter see the high latitudes as cold, remote, and as mysterious as the Moon. But to those of us who live here, the Arctic is home. the Arctic is heritage. the Arctic is our here and now, and our hereafter.

As the world awakens to the realities of climate change, a typical reaction of policymakers “down South” is to fear the North and want to lock it up. But sustainable living requires more than preservation. It requires stewardship. the Arctic will never compete with the rest of the world for people, but the Arctic is rich with the resources people need. At Alaska’s North Slope, nature condensed a continent of food into an ocean of oil. Our history of development, with the exception of the Exxon Valdez disaster, has enjoyed the finest environmental record in the Arctic world. in the last thirty years, with state oversight, industry has shrunk the size of the drilling “footprint” to one quarter of its former size. No waste products are left on the surface. These innovations are extremely important to us who care about the future of the North.

As the indigenous peoples learned long ago, in a cold, harsh environment you have to care about others. You waste nothing. You share to survive. You care for the total. Every hunter’s prize is a gift, not just to that hunter, but to one’s family and village. Throughout the world, the same sense of shared responsibility must now be awakened as we become sensitive to the needs of the global environment. Pollution knows no borders. All rivers eventually run into a common sea. All living things breathe the . . .

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