The New Arctic [The Compass]

Episodes

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The New Arctic: Communities Under Threat2021020320210207 (WS)Allan Little investigates how the climate crisis is impacting different communities above the Arctic circle, from infrastructure damage to loss of life, eroding land and endangering thousand-year-old cultures and traditional knowledge. They are our eyes and ears on the speed with which our planet is changing. We look at Nenets reindeer herding on the Siberian tundra, infrastructure damage in Longyearbyen (the world’s most northern town on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard), and a pioneering environmental program in Kotzebue, Alaska. For communities such as Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik) in Nunavut, Canada, climate change compounds existing challenges caused by colonialism and lack of economic development.

Allan Little investigates how the climate crisis is impacting Arctic communities

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

Global warming is happening twice as fast in the Arctic than in any other place on earth. As the ice melts, economic opportunities are increasing - from shipping lanes, to resource extraction and tourism - prompting security risks and geopolitical tensions. Allan Little investigates how the climate crisis and increased economic activity is impacting the communities who call this extreme environment their home - which, contrary to popular belief, is far from a pristine, empty white desert.

Allan Little investigates how the climate crisis is impacting Arctic communities.

The New Arctic: Power2021022420210228 (WS)Contrary to popular opinion, the Arctic is not a pristine, empty white desert. It is home to four million people distributed across eight distinct nation states: The USA, Canada, Kingdom of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Federation.

Allan Little looks at how the region is fast becoming fraught with geopolitical tensions. Despite all sides stressing this is still an area of low tension, Russia is building up its military presence and capabilities, with Nato countries responding with large-scale Arctic training exercises. China’s interest in the region is also creating new security concerns. But at a local level, we discover a very different story - Norwegian and Russian border communities maintain long-standing friendships.

Many argue that a new cold war is unlikely and geopolitics are overshadowing more urgent security issues facing the region. Future disputes are predicted over resource management and lucrative new shipping routes but not all-out war. And how important is the Arctic Council as the primary forum for dialogue and inclusion of indigenous voices, who must play a key role in the future of the region.

(Photo: A family in the Tundra. Credit: Stine Barlindhaug)

As tensions rise between Russia, Nato and China in the Arctic is a new cold war likely?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

Allan Little looks at how the region is fast becoming fraught with geopolitical tensions. Despite all sides stressing this is still an area of low tension, Russia is building up its military presence and capabilities, with Nato countries responding with large-scale Arctic training exercises. China’s interest in the region is also creating new security concerns. But at a local level, we discover a very different story - Norwegian and Russian border communities maintain long-standing friendships.

Global warming is happening twice as fast in the Arctic than in any other place on earth. As the ice melts, economic opportunities are increasing - from shipping lanes, to resource extraction and tourism - prompting security risks and geopolitical tensions.Allan Little investigates how the climate crisis and increased economic activity is impacting the communities who call this extreme environment their home - which, contrary to popular belief, is far from a pristine, empty white desert.

Allan Little investigates how the climate crisis is impacting Arctic communities.

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

The New Arctic: Resource Extraction2021021020210214 (WS)Global warming is happening twice as fast in the Arctic. As the ice melts, it poses an existential threat to local communities and indigneous culture, whilst opening up possibilities of economic opportunities. What is the future of mining, of green energy, of tourism in a world that climate change is making accessible for the first time in millennia? And where does power lie? Who will control the rapidly changing icy far north as it thaws?

The US Geological Survey estimated the Arctic may be home to 30% of the planet's undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13% of its undiscovered oil. Russia for example, views its vast Arctic resources as a key driver of its future economy. On the other hand, the melting ice will cause trillions of dollars worth of climate change-related damage, globally, over the coming decades.

But for the communities who live above the Arctic Circle, it’s not a simple debate over preservation versus production - there is a need for jobs and sustainable local economic growth.

(Photo credit: Victpria Ferran.)

As the ice retreats can the scramble for resources beneath the Arctic benefit communities?

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

The New Arctic: Tourism2021021720210221 (WS)Global warming is happening twice as fast in the Arctic than in any other place on earth. As the ice melts, economic opportunities are increasing - from shipping lanes, to resource extraction and tourism - prompting security risks and geopolitical tensions.Allan Little investigates how the climate crisis and increased economic activity is impacting the communities who call this extreme environment their home - which, contrary to popular belief, is far from a pristine, empty white desert.

Allan Little investigates how the climate crisis is impacting Arctic communities.

With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about society

Allan Little looks at the growing tourism industry above the Arctic circle which is raising complex social, economic and environmental consequences for remote communities.

On the one hand, there are sustainable, indigenous-operated businesses that benefit from increasing numbers of visitors in search of authentic reindeer experiences and the Northern Lights, but other regions are experiencing the problem of mass tourism. On the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, we see how the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of a seasonal tourism-based economy, as operators now fight for survival.

Paradoxically, tourists are often drawn north to witness the Arctic before it melts, while their carbon footprint is only adding to the problem. We meet several tourism businesses providing greener, more sustainable alternatives, including the world’s first hybrid-electric whale watching vessel.

Producer: Victoria Ferran

(Photo credit:: Victoria Ferran)

Tourism in the Arctic is growing but is it a sustainable industry?