The Circle

A New Deal for the Arctic

© European Space Agency

On the cusp of a renewal of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s 10-year strategy, Martin Sommerkorn and Melanie Lancaster say it’s important to identify what can and should be achieved in the Arctic in the next decade to benefit nature and people. Is it all that different from what needs to be done elsewhere?

In this issue

In this issue, we examine how to benefit nature and people in the Arctic.

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Elisabeth Kruger/WWF-US

A new deal for nature and people globally is a win for the Arctic, too

The Arctic is at the hard edge of many of the biggest challenges facing the world today. Global warming, melting sea ice and ocean pollution all have direct implications for Arctic biodiversity as well as for communities that rely on nature’s services for everything from cultural identities to livelihoods.

Tom Arnbom/WWF-Sweden

Lessons from lemmings: Ecosystem disruptions can have cascading effects on species

Tom Arnbom discusses the ups and downs of the Scandinavian lemming to illustrate how the fate of a single species can influence that of many others—and to show that we must begin building a more resilient Arctic now if we want to protect ecosystems and the biodiversity they support.


Chris Potter, CC, Flickr

Could social transformation help us avoid climate and biodiversity tipping points?

When it comes to preserving biodiversity, we face twin challenges: a constantly shrinking number of species and constantly rising greenhouse gases. Both are the result of a growing number of people on the planet whose need to consume seems limitless. Dag O. Hessen explains why we must counteract the risk of a biodiversity tipping point—and how social tipping points could help.

David McGeachy

Survival of the fattest: Why the climate crisis is making it hard for polar bears to get enough calories

To survive, polar bears need two things: seals to eat, and a platform of sea ice from which to hunt them. Pregnant bears, in particular, must get very fat from hunting seals before they hibernate, as they may not eat for eight months: they rely on stored fat for the energy they need to produce and nurse cubs, meet their own needs and travel back to the ice in spring.

Chickweed Arts/JamieGriffiths 2019

We shouldn’t have to be resilient

To survive prolonged crises, communities around the world need many of the same things: food security, clean water, safe housing, reliable infrastructure and accessible health care. But not every community has all these—and those in the Arctic face unique and additional challenges.

Hannah Polaczek

Building a sustainable Blue Economy in northern communities

In Canada’s eastern Arctic, fish harvesters are combining traditional knowledge with cutting-edge technology to bring much-needed economic opportunities to their communities. Doug Chiasson explains how WWF–Canada is working with harvesters in the northern Canadian communities of Arviat, Sanikiluaq and Kinngait to build renewable commercial fisheries.

Angela Hessenius, Sitka Tribe of Alaska

Alaska programme launches research careers from home shores

Southeast Alaska is a coastal archipelago—far removed from the world’s large biomedical research labs. But as Ellen Chenoweth writes, it is a place where Indigenous culture, fishing economies and subsistence activities highlight the connections between human and environmental health.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema

The Convention on Biological Diversity: Looking beyond 2020

Adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) arose from a growing recognition that our natural world is an asset we need to conserve. With 196 parties, the multilateral agreement aims to protect biodiversity, ensure ecosystems are used sustainably and share the benefits of diversity equally between nations.

The Circle is a magazine produced by the WWF Global Arctic Programme. Our goal is to inform decision-makers, scientists and the interested public about Arctic environmental and development issues.
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The Circle 02.20