The Arctic This Week: 12 January 2013 – 18 January 2013

The Arctic This Week 2013:03 

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We’re sending you this week’s news from the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø, Norway. With preparations aplenty filling our weekend hours, this edition of TATW will just be our picks of the week’s best reads. If you’re at the conference yourself, click here to see our sessions or listen to the series of interviews we’re producing for the conference. If you’d like to catch up with us for a coffee, send us a note.

As always, all editorial choices, opinions and any mistakes are the authors’ own. To comment or to request a back issue, feel free to contact Tom or Kevin directly.

Reads of the Week

If you’re crunched for time (as we are), we suggest you focus on the following articles.

For great long-form pieces, we once again commend two pieces from Up Here magazine to your attention; the first – and maybe the best article of the week overall – is on the numerous North-Pole expeditions that leave Resolute - and return with their tails between their legs - each year (from Margo Pfeiff). The second looks at a growing plague of polar bears in the town of Arviat (from Jake MacDonald).

To broaden your mind, follow the next installment of the legal battle between Alaska Native fishermen and Alaska state prosecutors; the fishermen fished out-of-season, claiming a religious exemption from stringent laws meant to mitigate a disastrous king-salmon run (ADN). Then take on a large, thoughtful and (unsurprisingly) well-written piece from Oran Young in Ethics & International Affairs; he asks how resilience of Arctic regions to the coming changes might best be developed. Next, go through a rich piece from the Washington Review of Turkish and Eurasian Affairs. It explores how Russia’s use of its vast Siberian hinterland has evolved over the centuries, using that history to give context to Russia’s energy-driven development of Siberia and the Arctic and its increasing interest in funneling those hydrocarbons eastward.

Idle No More continues to occupy plenty of real estate in newspapers in Canada and elsewhere; from the dozens of articles covering the movement this week, we’d suggest that you start with a catalog of major protests and blockades (CBC) and Gyasi Ross’s casual and helpful assessment-cum-summary of what Idle No More is and is not (HuffPo). Each of the other articles we’d recommend offers an analysis or opinion on the differences and divisions between the various actors currently on stage. Start with Celine Cooper’s thoughtful and necessary opinion piece asking whether it is fair of onlookers to expect uniformity of opinion among the many First Nations in Canada (Montreal Gazette). Follow with a piece looking at public support for the movement, which is less than unanimous among Canadians (HuffPo). Finish with two pieces looking at Shawn Atleo’s efforts to act as a leader and voice – the first suggests he’s been handily managed by Prime Minister Harper (, while the second suggests that Atleo’s methods are the only practical way forward (Globe & Mail).

Move next to four smaller nuggets of important and/or interesting information. The first – highly recommended – is an interactive map from Canadian Geographic that places many ongoing experiments in Canada’s High North on a map; it’s fun to play with. The second is the latest release from Arctic Fibre, which announced it will be providing broadband to the North Slope and Bering Sea coast of Alaska. The third is an article in Bloomberg from Carol Browner and John Podesta expressing their newfound opposition to drilling in the Arctic.   Though this thematic ground has been covered well elsewhere, its authors are noteworthy: Podesta was President Clinton’s Chief of Staff, while Browner led the Environmental Protection Administration through the Clinton years. Shell’s Arctic drilling has been facilitated by liberal policy makers such as these, and Podesta and Browner’s change of heart is another indication that Shell’s accident-prone summer drilling season may have broad impact on the future of energy development in the US Arctic.  A last interesting trinket from YLE defends the famous reticence of the Finns.

Finish with two multimedia recommendations: If you are looking for something to load onto your iPod, check out Alaska Public Radio’s Talk of Alaska to hear the variety of voices and opinions in Alaska on Arctic energy development and oil spill response in the wake of the Kulluk grounding. Finally, check out this short video overview of last week’s Copper Basin 300 sled dog race in Glennallen, Alaska from CBS News 11.  Usually known for brutally cold temperatures, this year’s race took place during a heat wave that led to slushy conditions and rain on the third day. 

Abbreviation Key

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)
Aftenbladet (AB)
Alaska Dispatch (AD)
Alaska Native News (ANN)
Anchorage Daily News (ADN)
Barents Nova (BN)
Barents Observer (BO)
Bristol Bay Times (BBT)
BusinessWeek (BW)
Canadian Mining Journal (CMJ)
Christian Science Monitor (CSM)
Eye on the Arctic (EOTA)
Fairbanks News Miner (FNM)
Financial Times (FT)
Globe and Mail (G&M)
Huffington Post (HP)
Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN)
Moscow Times (MT)
Natural Gas Europe (NGE)
Naval Today (NT)
New York Times (NYT)
Northern News Service Online (NNSO)
Northern Public Affairs (NPA)
Nunatsiaq News (NN)
Ottawa Citizen (OC)
RIA Novosti (RIAN)
Russia Today (RT)
Voice of Russia (VOR)
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
Washington Post (WP)
Whitehorse Star (WS)
Winnipeg Free Press (WFP)