Feature Interview: Rethinking how we talk about the Arctic

How much do discussions around conflict in the Arctic distract us from present-day problems facing northern peoples and the environment? (iStock)
How much do discussions around conflict in the Arctic distract us from present-day problems facing northern peoples and the environment? (iStock)
This week, chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotates from Canada to the United States.

It’s a time when Arctic issues get increasing attention and Arctic governance and conflict come into focus.

This year is a particularly volatile time given plunging oil prices and increasing tensions between Russia and the West.

But when it comes to the Arctic,  are we focusing too much on issues around conflict and the race for resources?

And do these discussions, distract policy makers and experts from tackling the real every-day challenges and pressures facing circumpolar communities?

Does the Arctic have something to teach us about international cooperation and conflict resolution instead?

A recent book titled Diplomacy on Ice: Energy and the Environment in the Arctic and  Antarctic is a collection of articles from experts around the world that takes on some of these questions, and suggests how focusing more on issues facing polar communities could help change the discussion.

(Yale University Press)
(Yale University Press)

In this week’s Feature Interview, we revisit Eye on the Arctic‘s March conversation with Arctic expert Rebecca Pincus, a visiting professor at the United States Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut and one of the editors of Diplomacy on Ice:

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  The Canadian Arctic Council Ministerial – What to Expect, Blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Denmark:  Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News

Finland:  Survey – More than half of reservists in Finland pro-Nato, Yle News

Norway:  Peace and stability crucial for Arctic economy, Barents Observer

Russia: Majorities in Arctic nations favor cooperation with Russia, Barents Observer

Sweden:  Russia concerned by Finland, Sweden moves towards closer ties with NATO, Radio Sweden

United States:  Feature Interview – Rethinking how we talk about the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic


Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *