At least, we all live with the Arctic, since what happens in the Arctic – and the Antarctic – affects every other part of the globe, and vice versa. Melting sea ice brings changing weather patterns; ocean temperatures and currents are shifting, with fish and other sea life following them, changing the availability of food not just for people but for marine life generally. Environmental campaigners have long used images of the Arctic – icebergs, polar bears, arctic foxes and other wildlife – to raise awareness about climate change and embody the threat from greenhouse effects. But how do these images circulate and what do they mean for people living in the European Arctic regions in particular?
Savage Minds welcomes guest blogger Simone Abram.
It’s not a joke – the Arctic seems to be everywhere at the moment, and it’s mainly because it is getting warmer. None of us really agree what the Arctic is or where – or whether – it has limits, few of us go there, and only a small number of states border the Arctic seas. That doesn’t seem to stop commentators using images of the Arctic to serve their particular interests, often with little regard or even acknowledgement of those who actually live in the Arctic regions. Nor does it dissuade states around the world from developing Arctic policies or seeing the Arctic as a potential resource for their own development goals. These are the themes that inform a recently-established international European project on Arctic Encounters that sets out to confront the idea of a post-colonial Arctic, through the comparison between Arctic imageries and lives in the region.