Search Results for Tag: Tromso
The Age of the Arctic online
For anyone who has time to follow it, the political speeches at this conference are being webcast.
The address to follow the webcast
I’ll be writing about some of the highlights and trying to summarize the discussion, but for the moment, I’m following the speeches and recording interviews in between.
DateJanuary 19, 2009 | 11:04 am
Age of the Arctic – Age of Indigenous People?
“The return of the Sun to Tromsö” was the motto of Sunday night’s get-together ahead of the official conference opening on Monday. After two months of darkness, the sun officially comes back on Jan. 21st. We sampled the traditional sun-cakes and cocoa, which go down a treat in the cold, dark weather. Actually, I haven’t found it too cold so far. Tromsö benefits from the Gulf stream, and after the very cold weather we had in Germany at the turn of the year with temperatures down to -15 at times, today’s weather here didn’t feel too cold, thanks to a lack of wind and the dryness of the air.
There were two excellent traditional musicians performing tonight, Sara Marielle, a Sami musician from Norway, and Sylvia Cloutier, an Inuit musician from Canada.
They are two very impressive ladies with very different voices, but in harmony with each other, they would say because they share the same environment. Sylvia sings “throat music”, quite amazing, and also dances with a traditional Inuit drum.
Paul Dahlö, Chairman of Troms County government, gave the welcome speech at the start of this 3rd Arctic Frontiers conference. He noted the increased interest in the Arctic because of the milder climate rousing high hopes with a lot of people of tapping into previously inaccessible natural resources. He referred to the current gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine, though, to illustrate how crucial stability is with regard to securing energy supplies. And that means governance of the Arctic region, a main theme over the next few days here.
There’s a considerable EU presence at the conference. The Troms chairman welcomed everybody, but I got the feeling it’s very important for people here to retain a strong influence in what happens in the region that is their home.
The other speaker was Steinar Pedersen, Principal of the Sami University College.
He is a charismatic story-teller, one of the people you could listen to all night. He told a traditional Sami tale which was all about not being arrogant but respectful towards nature. I interviewed him later and am looking forward to meeting him again tomorrow. If I had to sum up his message, I’d say it’s learn about sustainable use of our natural resources from indigenous people. And he calls for rules and regulations to be changed to allow them to have more say in what happens – and to share in any benefits gained from using resources of any kind up here.
DateJanuary 18, 2009 | 9:39 pm
Tromsö in the pink
I have arrived in Tromso after one of the most beautiful flights I can remember.
Oslo was dull and greyish, albeit with loads of snow. As we got further north, the skies got clearer and the pilot told us we could expect “perfect” weather conditions, clear skies, just a little scattered cloud. He war right. We were coming in just after midday, so getting the “pink light” hours, before the winter afternoon blackness. Some impressions from the plane window:
On the plane earlier, I had been reading a book called “Climate Code Red” – the case for emergency action, by David Spratt and Philip Sutton. The authors are convinced we need emergency action to REDUCE the temperature of the planet, not just reduce the amount by which we’re increasing it.
Chapter 1 is called “Losing the Arctic Sea Ice”. It is perfect reading material in the run-up to the “Arctic Frontiers” conference. More about the book later. As I looked out of the window, I couldn’t help thinking the beauty of the region itself should make enough of a case for saving it.
Last night I visited some friends with children who are doing a project on the Arctic in primary school. I was delighted at their interest – and at how much they were aware of climate change and, for instance, the problems it causes for polar bears. They looked up Tromsö on their map and their globe. I hope they’ll see these pictures too at some stage.
This is the approach to Tromsö:
From a different angle, the picture is almost black and white:
By the time I went out for a walk it was dark. Tromsö is reasonably busy, as an international film festival has just come to an end – and of course the conference starts tonight. I’m hoping to see some “northern lights” tonight, although it could be too bright here in the town.
Meanwhile, I enjoyed the man-made kind: (The triangle is the famous “Arctic Cathedral”).
The buildings on the wharf also looked very different from last time I saw them in summer, when it was still light when I went to bed..
And I’ve called this one “deflated”. You wouldn’t want to depend on this one to abandon ship at the moment:
DateJanuary 18, 2009 | 4:16 pm
The Age of the Arctic?
The Ice-Blog will be coming to you from Tromsö in Norway from Sunday onwards.
I’m looking forward to the “Arctic Frontiers” conference, entitled “The Age of the Arctic”.
Arctic Frontiers conference website
It will be interesting to hear how the states with Arctic territory and the EU see the future of the region – and how they plan to safeguard the environment while at the same time trying to lay claim to the natural resources they’d like to access.
It seems there are influential people who think climate change is nothing more than a great opportunity to open up oil and gas reserves previously inaccessible.
US President Bush made a point of presenting a new Arctic Strategy (15 years since the last US one)in his last few days in office, stressing the country’s intention of securing greater influence. Critics say it’s based too strongly on military and economic interests. And the USA is not alone there.
Let’s hear what the parties have to say in Tromsö in the coming week.
DateJanuary 16, 2009 | 3:28 pm