Climate Warming Increases Impacts on Arctic Ecosystems

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Climate change and climate warming in the Arctic Region (parts of the United States, Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia), at least in the short-term, brings completely new economic opportunities to the region overall. A major opportunity is tourism, although it is questionable whether an increase in tourism in the Arctic region is a consequence of climate change and warming, or rather a question of marketing. Should we rather ask what the consequences of an increase in tourism has on the Arctic region? And, how tourism can be developed in a sustainable way, with as little as possible negative impacts on the environment.

Tourism itself is not the actual problem, since it leads to economic development and growth in any region. The possible problems include the effects of everything that has to do with tourism, such as energy and transport. In fact, offering tourists for example increasingly much direct flights to a tourist destination has less environmental impacts than inefficient flight routes.

After the slump and financial crisis in Iceland 2008-2011, the islands tourism is today flourishing more than ever, as is the tourism in Finnish Lapland. In Iceland this has led to a drastic increase in prices, which of course has nothing to do with climate change. In Finnish Lapland, however, where ski races are being organized each winter, artificial snow has been used for years already since there has not been enough natural snowfall before and during the annual ski races. In fact, although South Korea is not part of the Arctic region, it is hosting the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics. Due to a (risk of) lack of snow, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018 has to rely upon artificial, imported snow. Lack of snow around the world, including the Arctic region, is becoming so common that it is already a reality that artificial snow has to be depended upon.

Understanding and responding to the challenges, risks/threats and opportunities with a changing climate in the Arctic region is not an unequivocal task. Some find completely new business opportunities through the warming of the region (and, the whole world), such as creating artificial snow. In short, an ice-free Arctic sea is by many businesses regarded as a huge opportunity to save costs, regardless of the possible risks involved in e.g. shipping through the Arctic sea. What businesses and consumers must realize is how to develop sustainable practices and how to ensure as little as possible environmental damage.

Learn more about sustainability by watching University of Copenhagen´s (UCPH) video “Sustainability Lecture: Community Health and Sustainability in Arctic Alaska”:


Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.


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