The effects of changing environment and human activities on the Arctic: Drivers and challenges in Svalbard (Short Communication)

Vol.10,No.1(2020)

Abstract

Climate change brings several layers of challenges to the Arctic. On the one hand, we can observe increased human activities that create potential for economic development – especially in mining, oil and gas industry, shipping, fisheries and tourism. On the other hand, these economic benefits pose a risk to the environment, local populations and traditional livelihood of the Indigenous peoples. In the following three years (2020-2022), recently established interdisciplinary team investigates the impact of climate change and human activities on natural environment in the Arctic. The team is composed of eight scientists with different specialization from three faculties of the Masaryk University – Faculty of Social Studies, Faculty of Science, and Faculty of Law. The research focuses on both the challenges and risk assessment in terrestrial ecosystems. The relation of natural environment changes to the human-to-environment interaction is investigated, as well as the consequences for the geopolitical, legal and security developments in the Arctic region. Based on gained findings, risks analysis and recommendations for mitigating the impact of environmental changes on the natural environment and population in the specific Arctic territories will be done. The research directly contributes to encouraging interdisciplinary innovative approach with high added value and international impact. These innovative aspects of the project lie in the interdisciplinary character of the Arctic research across different specializations – natural science, social science and law, which has not been combined and investigated yet. Additionally, the project is unique due to its specific science communication and dissemination of research findings, which aims at four levels of audiences – (i) academic community, (ii) policymakers, (iii) general public, and (iv) students.


Keywords:
Arctic region, security, environmental changes, human activity, geopolitical challenges
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