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Unfreezing the ArcticScience, Colonialism, and the Transformation of Inuit Lands$
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Andrew Stuhl

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226416649

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226416786.001.0001

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Epilogue: Unfrozen in Time

Epilogue: Unfrozen in Time

(p.145) Epilogue: Unfrozen in Time
Unfreezing the Arctic

Andrew Stuhl

University of Chicago Press

This chapter returns to contemporary media narratives about the Arctic to connect the colonial and environmental history of science with the present. It presents a brief history of conflict within the Arctic Council since the mid 1990s. Whereas Inuit advocated community-based science that served the interests of northern residents, U.S. senior officials supported computer-based and remote research that answered theoretical or empirical questions posed by southern scientists. This conflict mirrors the narrative of the book as it hinges on differing interpretations of the relations among knowledge, nature, and power. The chapter then details how lessons from the Arctic’s colonial past can be applied in current environmental decision-making. It is argued that climate scientists and policy-makers must engage in participatory forums at regional levels to build trust and capacity to respond to rapid environmental change. Key to these actions will be a recommitment to principles that were first developed in the 1970s: ecological ethics, social justice, and awareness of the historical legacies present in the Arctic. Historians and concerned citizens must counter simplified ideas of the Arctic proliferating in the press to shift the focus of climate action from the circumpolar basin to the sites where most fossil fuels are burned.

Keywords:   Arctic Council, community based science, historical legacies, ecological ethics, social justice, climate action, fossil fuels

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