ctrp320 The Arctic as a Personal and Global Challenge

He does what? – People often ask whenever I mention Lewis Gordon Pugh. He swims the arctic, I tell them again.  Why? – is always the next question.

When you sit across from Lewis Gordon Pugh for just a few minutes, you understand why immediately.  You also understand you’re in the presence of someone who puts his entire life on the line for a global problem he is passionate about tackling.

Lewis’s concern about climate change and the urgent need to do something about it take him beyond the freezing waters of the arctic, as he explains in this interview, he is also concerned for the rapidly melting ice in the Himalayas, water that 1/5 of the world’s population lives on.  Thus setting the stage for his next swim, a lake formed from a melting glacier on Mount Everest.

If you enjoyed this interview and want to learn more about Lewis’ work, visit his website. I highly recommend seeing the video of his arctic swim.

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Inuit Sovereignity

“Do you fear an arms race over the arctic?” the host of The Current Podcast asked an Inuit representative during a recent episode. The gentlemen spoke at length about the problems of the Inuit population in the high arctic and his concerns about the Canadian federal government doing military exercises in the arctic as opposed to giving much needed attention to public services and infrastructure.

Among the many things I learned while listening to this program, was the story of the Inuit High Arctic Relocation. I had never heard about the actions of the Canadian government during the cold war, relocating 87 Inuit people from northern Quebec. The government claimed, and still claims, that this was in order to alleviate problems Inuit had in northern Quebec by giving them a new and not over-populated region to practice their traditional living. However, as is illustrated in this program and other historical record, Canada was seeking to make settlements in the high arctic to prove that they own it and have people living there.

Many decades later, they’re still trying to prove it is theirs, and the Inuits still have problems stemming from government neglect.

Listen to the program to hear interesting details from a  compelling source.

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Scandinavian Arctic Path

My good friend and fellow personal publisher Raymond had a post earlier this month on the topic of Norway that caught my attention. In it he spoke about the melting of the arctic ice, a topic I’ve followed for the past few years, and the strange prospects for Scandinavia when this new northern trade route opens up. Focusing on the city of Troms as a potential crossroads for these new routes, Raymond asks:

Could Troms or another harbour in Northern Norway be the new Rotterdam? Could we see a development in Northern Norway that defies gravity and is as exciting and news-worthy as the development in the capital of Norway? What will happen once ships can safely travel from Europe to Asia through the arctic region?

He also mentions existing and planned sea, rail, and air links between Scandinavia, Europe, Asia. As well as the importance of the world’s largest iron ore mine located in Sweden.

While the melting of the arctic is alarming and indeed, steps should be taken to reduce carbon emissions to hopefully slow global warming, it is also interesting to imagine what the future could bring for regions of the world like Northern Norway. Places that in this day and age are seen as remote or isolated, suddenly becoming connected and significant in so many ways.

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bmtv71 Canadian Military Show

Over the past 2 years, as part of the new cold war over who owns the arctic, the Canadian government has chosen to use its military to show how serious they are about defending their claim. Through a series of missions and exercises that involve land, sea, and air forces, not to mention determined statements from the Prime Minister, they obviously hope the international community will back off and they can reign freely as masters of the arctic.

One small but interesting task I undertook recently was to search for video produced by or about the Canadian military deployed in the arctic. This vlog entry features those images. And while there may be a somewhat humorous element to the idea that Canada would use violence to settle an international dispute, you will also notice that they really are armed and very much playing the new cold war game.

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