Expedition cruise passengers exploring the Northwest Passage step onto a thick pan of sea ice.

A large iceberg, likely originating from Greenland’s northwest coast, drifts through Lancaster Sound, Nunavut.

Large pieces of Arctic ice from Greenland were displayed as part of an art installation during the COP 21 summit in Paris.

Site Updates

Our site has been down for the past few weeks, but we’ve been working steadily to get it back up and running.

A huge thanks to our team at the UBC School of Journalism, and especially Chantelle Bellrichard for figuring out a way to bring our site back to life. It’ll take us a few more days to get all the pictures loading properly again, and the Arctic News section back up to speed, but we’re grateful at this point to be out of “404 error” land.

While we were offline, we’ve been busy on the ground.

Lauren Kaljur recently finished her internship in Whitehorse, Yukon at Yukon News. Alexander Kim is finishing his internship based in Iqaluit, Nunavut with Arctic Deeply.

Candis Callison will join Alex in Iqaluit next week (starting July 4) to speak with journalists working in Nunavut. Candis will head to Yellowknife with Peter Mothe in August to speak with journalists working in the Northwest Territories. In September, Candis and Lauren will head back up to Whitehorse to interview Yukon journalists.

We’re heading north this summer

Our research team will be in many communities across the Canadian Arctic during the next several months. If you are a journalist working anywhere in the Arctic, and you’re interested in participating in this project, please contact us.

We will be conducting ethnographic research and interviews with working journalists in the Arctic in order to understand the changes that have come with digital technology and global audiences, and the challenges of reporting on environmental and economic changes.

As well, some of our team will be directly contributing to Arctic journalism.

Wrapping up COP 21 research and reporting

Our Arctic Journalism research team has spent the past half-month investigating where Arctic issues and communities figure into media and events related to the UNFCCC’s COP 21 in Paris. Here’s a quick summary of the work our research team has done.

How media covered COP 21 and the Arctic

The Arctic Journalism team at UBC’s Graduate School of Journalism analyzed how journalists around the world talked about the Arctic in the context of COP 21.

We focused on 10 media outlets: three were international (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Guardian), four were national Canadian news sources (The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC News, and National Post), and three were regional news outlets from northern Canada (Whitehorse Star, Northern Journal and Nunatsiaq News). We focused on articles published between Nov. 28 to Dec. 12., and searched for articles that discussed the Arctic (or the Canadian North) in the context of COP 21.

Arctic Encounters after COP 21

During the concluding hours of COP 21 negotiations, a panel of notable Arctic voices gathered to discuss their varied understandings of security in their region.

Consensus emerged on one central point: public knowledge of the Arctic is severely lacking. Few citizens within the eight Arctic nations can identify the existence of the Arctic Council, according to an EKOS poll earlier this year. As the Arctic undergoes dramatic climatic changes and becomes increasingly subject to the gaze of outside interests, correcting this knowledge-gap is critical.

The Arctic was a very small part of COP 21 Twitter chatter

After 12 days of negotiations for COP 21, nearly 200 nations have adopted an agreement to fight climate change.

Throughout the conference, we’ve been monitoring #COP21 on Twitter because we’re interested in how the Arctic fits into international discussions of climate change. This is what we’ve learned.

Geojournalism aims to change reporting on climate and the Arctic

Journalists and a global group of innovative partners are using a suite of new technologies called Geojournalism to change reporting on climate and the environment.

Geojournalism synthesizes large datasets to visually represent complex, place-based, environmental challenges such as Indonesian peat fire atmospheric poisoning and illegal rhino hunting in South Africa. Showing the colourful, interactive graphs and maps on slides to a full audience at COP 21 last Sunday, journalists and researchers demonstrated how this collaborative work can help contextualize complex regional and global problems.

River systems, mountain ranges, and coastlines affected by climate change know no borders. At the same time, an incredible amount of scientific data on climate-related challenges exists “out there” already.

Arctic Day at COP 21

December 8 was a big day for the Arctic at COP 21. Saami and Inuit leaders gathered at the indigenous pavilion to celebrate and caution delegates about the needs of their region.

Cathy Towtongie, President of Nunavut Tunngavik, the beneficiaries of the Nunavut Land
Claims Agreement, is a traditional seamstress whose elders taught her the ancient methods of
clothes-making and are no longer alive. She described how she can see climate change in the
animals. On caribou pelts, she can see the frailty of the muscle fibres from environmental stress. She said the warmer temperatures mean that she cannot find a parasite-free river in which to wash the hides. Birds they’ve never seen before are migrating to the Arctic. “This is not a textbook for us,” Towtongie said, “this is our way of life.”

Bringing the Arctic to Paris

It is a startling image: an Inuit hunter pulls a Greenland dog-sled with standard-bred poodles along the Seine River in the heart of Paris, France.

This art project, L’arctique est Paris, combines interactive art, film, and presentation. It is one of many ArtCOP 21 efforts to “expand the conversation” and draw attention to climate in unique, emotive ways.

Sámi Youth addresses large crowd at Global Landscapes Forum

Not only does climate change pose immediate environmental challenges to indigenous groups, the large scale climate mitigation and adaptation measures being proposed also have serious impacts.

The human rights and land tenure panel at the two day COP21 Global Landscape Forum addressed how to ensure such projects proceed in a way that respects international and national indigenous rights to land and consultation.

One answer to this question came from young Sámi leader Per Jonas Partapuoli, a board member of the International Centre of Reindeer Husbandry. His family has been herding reindeer in the Laevas district since long-before Sweden was a country. “It is where I find my safety, love, identity and further where my future will be,” Partapuoli said.