troubled watersTroubled waters

Polar pit-stop

The previous sections of 'Troubled waters' have shown how shipping and navigation have changed since the first pioneers navigated the Northwest Passage in the early twentieth century. Since then the ships have advanced technically and the physical conditions of the ice have changed. Changes will continue to occur.

Consider whether the North is 'primarily a frontier for industry or a homeland for its peoples' (source: Thomas R. Berger, Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland: 'The Report of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry Vol 1. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada 1977 - pp 1-2)

The future of the Arctic is being shaped by climate change. This sparsely populated, remote, and inhospitable region is now becoming more accessible due to the melting ice cap. This could lead to rapid development which will have consequences not only for the environment, but also for the indigenous people's wellbeing and cultures, until now largely protected by the extreme conditions in this region. Investment, and an improved infrastructure, will provide prosperity with goods, and services becoming more easily available but there will also be a greater chance of environmental pollution.

Activity: You are a tv reporter...

You are a news reporter for your local TV station. You have been sent to Helsinki in Finland, to report on the 2020 'Shipping in the Arctic' Conference.

You have six bulletins to prepare for different news programmes throughout the day :

  • 8am
  • 11am
  • 1300
  • 1500
  • 1800
  • 2200

some can be longer than others - consider the time of day, and whether the bulletin is a brief overview or can provide more depth.

Each bulletin must briefly describe the current 2020 conditions in the circumpolar region, then referring to your notes, focus on one of the themes relevant to the increase in Arctic shipping.

Before you start this task use the following links to help your research:

  • Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment - an overview of Arctic shipping now and in the future. This describes the threats and challenges, including the risks, of shipping and navigation in the Arctic as well as the need for sustainable development and good governance.
  • an article in Transport Weekly highlighting some of the sessions and comments at the 2008 Arctic Shipping Conference held in St Petersburg, Russia.

'Vision: A healthy and productive Arctic Ocean and coasts that support environmental, economic and socio-cultural values for current and future generations.'

Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment AMSA /Arctic Council


Home | 1: Climate change | 2: Living on the edge | 3: Arctic science | 4: Hunter or hunted? | 5: Postcard from the edge | 6: Troubled waters | 7: Resources from the edge | 8: Arctic Circumpolar Governance | 9: Snow, water, ice, permafrost | 10: Adapting to change

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