Are We Acquiescing to Climate Change? Social and Environmental Justice Considerations for a Changing Arctic

Are We Acquiescing to Climate Change? Social and Environmental Justice Considerations for a Changing Arctic

Philip A. Loring

Are We Acquiescing to Climate Change? Social and Environmental Justice Considerations for a Changing ArcticThis is part of Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change
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Abstract: In this editorial essay I discuss how changing arctic landscapes and seascapes are presently construed in two dominant science and policy narratives, one regarding the vulnerability and resilience of remote communities, and the second focusing on economic development of emerging opportunities. I discuss whether these two narratives limit the overall discourse on arctic change, reinforcing one another and creating a scenario of winners and losers that benefits those with the resources to capitalize on new and emerging opportunities while locking others, primarily local residents, into a posture of victimization. I suggest that these two narratives are counterproductive to efforts that seek to resist and reverse the impacts of anthropogenic global warming, and also to efforts to improve human well-being in arctic communities more generally. Arctic landscapes and seascapes, I argue, are artifacts flush with the influence of the values and actions of a now global civilization; as changes are borne out in the future we need to recognize that these changes are not outside of our control and will endure as a testament to our societies’ values regarding basic human rights and social and environmental justice.

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