Special Issue "Shaping Tomorrow’s Arctic"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Air, Climate Change and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 18 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Gail Fondahl
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Geography, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9, CANADA
Interests: Legal geographies of Indigenous land rights in Russian North; Cultural geographies of reindeer husbandry in Russian north, Human development in circumpolar north, Sustainable development in north
Prof. Grete K. Hovelsrud
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Nordland Research Institute, Bodø 8049, Norway Second affiliation: Faculty of Social Science, Nord University, Bodø, 8049 Norway
Interests: Arctic development; Adaptation to climate change; Societal Transformation to Low Emission Society; Sustainable adaptation; coproduction of knowledge, local communities, Indigenous people and nature-based livelihoods; socio-political change in Svalbard; interdisciplinary approach to Arctic change; multiple stressors and cascading effects; coastal communities and livelihoods
Dr. Tero Mustonen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Snowchange Cooperative, 81235 Lehtoi, Finland
Interests: Restoration of boreal and Arctic habitats, Freshwater ecosystems, Fisheries, Indigenous livelihoods, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, Sámi and Finnish areas, Decolonisation
Prof. Dr. Stephanie Pfirman
E-Mail Website
Chief Guest Editor
School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
Interests: Arctic climate and environmental change; Sea ice origins; trajectories and change; Responding to change; Novel educational approaches; Interdisciplinary research; Education and Career Advancement

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Decisions made now are fundamentally shaping the multiple Arctics of 2050.  This Special Issue explores the past, present and future of Arctic sustainability.  What are possible Arctic futures?  How does the current path dependency on fossil fuels interplay with the need for long term Arctic sustainability?  What do trajectories towards sustainable Arctics look like?   How might these differ for different arctic populations? What are the effects of human activities in the Arctic on local environmental conditions?  What can we do to reduce disruptions and mitigate impacts? How do the current and projected changes in climate affect issues of Indigenous rights, rights to resources and human rights?  Do we have the proper tools, mechanisms and regulations to manage the multiple Arctics?  How do we ensure involvement in decision-making for sustainability?  How do we decide on directions for management and development of arctic resources, and what voices are missing?  What steps should we be taking now, such as coproducing knowledge for sustainability, to lay the foundation for an equitable, just and inclusive Arctic?   How do visual arts, literature, performing arts, etc. advance sustainability in the Arctic?  How is security being reimagined and redefined in the Arctic?  In looking forward, what can we learn from past experiences, as well as from recent responses to change?  

We invite contributions that advance our understanding of Arctic sustainability from all disciplines (humanities; natural, social and physical sciences) and viewpoints, and from local, national, regional, and international perspectives. The scope of this Special Issue ranges from approaches to education, capacity building, governance, history, cultural studies, societal transformation, community viability, post petroleum futures and biophysical projections, to options for mitigating, adapting and transforming to change and impacts.  

We welcome research articles and reviews that provide updates on the latest progress on critical issues as well as communications, short notes and manuscripts regarding research proposals and research ideas. Of special interest are articles and communications from arctic residents, indigenous persons, and early career scholars. 

Prof. Stephanie Pfirman
Prof. Gail Fondahl
Prof. Grete K. Hovelsrud
Dr. Tero Mustonen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Arctic
  • sustainability
  • Sustainable Development Goals/SDGs
  • futures
  • climate change
  • history
  • Indigenous peoples
  • local involvement
  • communities
  • coproduction
  • rights
  • equity
  • justice
  • governance
  • adaptation
  • mitigation
  • resilience
  • interdisciplinarity
  • multiple Arctics

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Article
Gender Equality for a Thriving, Sustainable Arctic
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10825; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su131910825 - 29 Sep 2021
Viewed by 424
Abstract
On 21 May 2021, a milestone Pan-Arctic Report: Gender Equality in the Arctic was published in tandem with the Arctic Council’s Ministerial Meeting held in Reykjavík, 19–20 May 2021. This article provides a brief review of the report and its major findings across [...] Read more.
On 21 May 2021, a milestone Pan-Arctic Report: Gender Equality in the Arctic was published in tandem with the Arctic Council’s Ministerial Meeting held in Reykjavík, 19–20 May 2021. This article provides a brief review of the report and its major findings across six chapters that address key themes concerning gender equality in the Arctic: Law and Governance, Security, Gender and Environment, Migration and Mobility, Indigeneity, Gender, Violence, Reconciliation and Empowerment and Fate Control. A major conclusion of the report is that accessible, comparable, gender-disaggregated, and Arctic -specific data is severely lacking. Further, all chapters highlight the importance of gender-based analysis and gender mainstreaming in all decision-making processes at national and regional levels. The varying roles that gender—and its intersections with existing inequalities—plays in mediating the impacts of climate change and other socioeconomic transformations are also discussed throughout the report. The Arctic Council is identified as the main driver for implementing recommendations that were provided and discussed at the Council’s Ministerial Meeting and in the Reykjavík Declaration 2021, where the eight ministers of Arctic states “Emphasize[s] the importance of gender equality and respect for diversity for sustainable development in the Arctic… encourage[s] the mainstreaming of gender-based analysis in the work of the Arctic Council and call[s] for further action to advance gender equality in the Arctic”. This report and its policy relevant highlights, address these priorities and serve as a knowledge base for promoting gender equality and non-discrimination in the Arctic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shaping Tomorrow’s Arctic)
Article
The Contribution of Natural Resource Producing Sectors to the Economic Development of the Sakha Republic
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10142; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su131810142 - 10 Sep 2021
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Abstract
This paper provides basic materials for considering the sustainability of natural resource development in the Arctic, taking the Sakha Republic as a case study of the Russian Arctic regions. The author clarifies the contribution of the mining industry to the economic development of [...] Read more.
This paper provides basic materials for considering the sustainability of natural resource development in the Arctic, taking the Sakha Republic as a case study of the Russian Arctic regions. The author clarifies the contribution of the mining industry to the economic development of Sakha with special attention paid to the contribution to government budgets by numerical and statistical analysis of regional and municipal data. The paper demonstrates that the mining industry has been a driving force of the economic growth of Sakha and that the oil sector has sharply increased its presence while the diamond sector has decreased its presence. Simultaneously, it reveals that the mining industry is unevenly developed in Sakha, which has caused significant inequality in per capita Gross Municipal Product (GMP). Then, the analysis of the paper shows that Sakha’s contribution to the federal budget has increased significantly in recent years due to growing oil production and that the diamond sector is still more influential than the oil sector in the contribution to the republican and local budgets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shaping Tomorrow’s Arctic)
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Article
Climate Change and Unalakleet: A Deep Analysis
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9971; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13179971 - 06 Sep 2021
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Abstract
This multi-disciplinary science and Indigenous knowledge assessment paper reviews over 20 years of research materials, oral histories and Indigenous views on climate change affecting Unalakleet, Alaska, USA and Norton Sound. It brings a historical review, statistical analysis, community-based observations and wisdom from Unalakleet [...] Read more.
This multi-disciplinary science and Indigenous knowledge assessment paper reviews over 20 years of research materials, oral histories and Indigenous views on climate change affecting Unalakleet, Alaska, USA and Norton Sound. It brings a historical review, statistical analysis, community-based observations and wisdom from Unalakleet Iñupiaq knowledge holders into a critical reading of the current state of climate change impacts in the region. Through this process, two keystone species, Pacific salmon and caribou, are explored as indicators of change to convey the significance of climate impacts. We rely on this historical context to analyse the root causes of the climate crisis as experienced in Alaska, and as a result we position Indigenous resurgence, restoration and wisdom as answers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shaping Tomorrow’s Arctic)
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Perspective
Sustaining the Arctic in Order to Sustain the Global Climate System
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10622; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su131910622 - 24 Sep 2021
Viewed by 270
Abstract
The unraveling of the Arctic is bad enough for the Arctic itself, but it will have enormous consequences for the entire planet since the Arctic is a crucial component of the global climate system. Current policies do not provide much hope to prevent [...] Read more.
The unraveling of the Arctic is bad enough for the Arctic itself, but it will have enormous consequences for the entire planet since the Arctic is a crucial component of the global climate system. Current policies do not provide much hope to prevent these harms. We have committed the earth to too much warming to take a step-by-step approach. We have entered a period of history when planetary management has become unavoidable and must move forward on many fronts simultaneously. Key components of a multiprong approach include decarbonization, focus on short-lived climate forcers, greenhouse gas removal, adaptation, Arctic interventions, and solar climate intervention. This article discusses the last option, which may be the only means of cooling the earth quickly enough to save Arctic ice and permafrost. Scientific research is essential to better understand its feasibility, effectiveness, and safety. However, research is not enough; we need to be ready to respond right away if Arctic or global temperatures need to be lowered quickly. This means we need significant technology research and development so that solar climate intervention technologies are deployment-ready in the relatively near future, perhaps in a decade or two, and could be used should the need arise and should research show that they are effective and safe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shaping Tomorrow’s Arctic)
Essay
Arctic Futures–Future Arctics?
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9420; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169420 - 22 Aug 2021
Viewed by 454
Abstract
Is the Arctic sufficiently distinctive and uniform to justify adopting a holistic perspective in thinking about the future of the region? Or do we need to acknowledge that the Arctic encompasses a number of different subregions whose futures may diverge more or less [...] Read more.
Is the Arctic sufficiently distinctive and uniform to justify adopting a holistic perspective in thinking about the future of the region? Or do we need to acknowledge that the Arctic encompasses a number of different subregions whose futures may diverge more or less profoundly? In the aftermath of the Cold War, a view of the Arctic as a distinctive region with a policy agenda of its own arose in many quarters and played a prominent role in shaping initiatives such as the launching of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy in 1991 and the creation of the Arctic Council in 1996. Yet not everyone found this perspective persuasive at the time, and more recent developments have raised new questions about the usefulness of this perspective as a basis for thinking about the future of the Arctic. As a result, some observers take the view that we need to think more about future Arctics than about Arctic futures. Yet, today, climate change provides a central thread tying together multiple perspectives on the Arctic. The dramatic onset of climate change has turned the Arctic into the frontline with regard to the challenges of adapting to a changing biophysical setting. Ironically, the impacts of climate change also have increased the accessibility of massive reserves of hydrocarbons located in the Arctic, contributing to a feedback loop accelerating climate change. This means that the future of the Arctic will reflect the interplay between efforts to address the biophysical and socioeconomic consequences of climate change on the one hand and the influence of the driving forces underlying the political economy of energy development on the other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shaping Tomorrow’s Arctic)
Essay
Developing a Sustainable and Inclusive Northern Knowledge Ecosystem in Canada
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9213; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169213 - 17 Aug 2021
Viewed by 419
Abstract
A knowledge ecosystem is a collection of individuals and organizations who are involved in the creation, management and dissemination of knowledge, both in the form of research and lived experience and teaching. As is the case with ecosystems more generally, they thrive on [...] Read more.
A knowledge ecosystem is a collection of individuals and organizations who are involved in the creation, management and dissemination of knowledge, both in the form of research and lived experience and teaching. As is the case with ecosystems more generally, they thrive on variation and diversity, not only in the types of individuals and organizations involved but also in the roles that they play. For many decades, the northern knowledge ecosystem in Canada was dominated and controlled by Western scholarly approaches and researchers based in academic institutions outside the North. More recently, this research landscape has started to change, largely in response to the efforts of Indigenous peoples and northerners to realize greater self-determination and self-government. Not only have these changes led to the development of research and educational capacity in the North, but they have also changed the way that academic researchers engage in the research process. The keys to maintaining the future sustainability and health of the northern knowledge ecosystem will be encouraging diversity and balance in the research methodologies and approaches used to generate knowledge about the North and ensuring that the needs and priorities of northern and Indigenous peoples are recognized and addressed in the research process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shaping Tomorrow’s Arctic)
Essay
What Does the Arctic’s Unstable Past Say about a Sustainable Future?
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 8067; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13148067 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 469
Abstract
Visions for tomorrow’s Arctic include complementary and conflicting ideas such as sustainability, security, prosperity, biodiversity, Indigenous rights, and more. Implicit in many of these views is the assumption that the right combination of policy and action will create a stable configuration producing the [...] Read more.
Visions for tomorrow’s Arctic include complementary and conflicting ideas such as sustainability, security, prosperity, biodiversity, Indigenous rights, and more. Implicit in many of these views is the assumption that the right combination of policy and action will create a stable configuration producing the intended outcome for the foreseeable future. Even a cursory review of Arctic history, however, shows that economic, political, cultural, ecological, climatic, and other forms of stability are unlikely. Instead, the lessons of the past suggest that local and global factors will continue to interact to create high variability. Individual policies and institutions may help promote effective responses to that variability, but a commitment to enduring equity is necessary to foster long-term well-being for the Arctic and its peoples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shaping Tomorrow’s Arctic)
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