The Circle

Sustainable Development Goals

© Peter Prokosch/

The Arctic’s challenges are vast and deep, writes TIMO KOIVUROVA: The region is warming at twice the rate of the global average, ice and snow are melting, ecosystems are transforming — and Indigenous and local cultures are struggling to adapt.

In this issue

Shaping the future of the Arctic.

Download this issue of The Circle


Kurt Hørlyk

Greenland’s Seaweed Entrepreneur

Greenland is the world’s largest island, with a coastline of more than 44,000 kilometres and more than 250 species of seaweed. Could seaweed be a new source of sustainably derived income in the country? ULRIK “MAKI” LYBERTH, a teacher turned entrepreneur, is betting on it—and hoping to find investors who share his vision.

Promoting a better kind of tourism

Iceland’s natural beauty has always attracted travellers from around the world. But over the past eight years, the number of people coming to see its breathtaking waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes and glaciers has more than quadrupled. Almost 1.8 million people now visit Iceland each year—a number five times the population of the small Arctic country. This surge has forced Iceland to look for ways to protect the environment and charm that attracts travellers. In doing so, it is becoming a leader in sustainable tourism.


Tobias Luthe

Change means chance

Melting glaciers, thinning sea ice, traditional subsistence hunters looking for new ways to survive: changes in nature and ways of life seem to be the dominant drivers in many Arctic communities. While this situation is dismaying to many, another way to look at it is that change means chance. According to TOBIAS LUTHE, flexibility, diverse social collabo­rations and being open to innovative economic opportunities could lead to greater resil­ience in Arctic communities.

Fiona Paton, CC,

Maritime business opportunities in a thawing Arctic: Handle with care!

There are few places on Earth where the impacts of climate change are more profound and dramatic than in the Arctic, notes STURLA HENRIKSEN. At the top of the world, temperatures are rising at almost twice the rate of the rest of the planet.

Hillary White

Water security in a warming Arctic

For northern Indigenous Peoples, hunting, fishing, transportation and relational networks across the circumpolar Arctic are built on generations of individual and collective knowledge of water. This knowledge and spiritual connection with water, weather and the environment has sustained a rich and long cultural history. But as ANDREW MEDEIROS notes, recent environ­mental changes and volatile weather conditions are strain­ing their ability to adapt.

Ken MADSEN / WWF-Canada

Rethinking Canada’s northern food systems: A basis for achieving zero hunger

The traditional food systems of Canada’s Arctic Indigenous Peoples have changed considerably over the years. Once reliant almost exclusively on animal fat and protein harvested from the land and sea, Indigenous Peoples now depend on a mix of traditional foods (e.g., fish, caribou, seal) and imports from southern Canada. While the harvest of traditional foods is still important for nutritional, cultural and economic reasons, Indigenous communities increasingly rely on commercially made products. DAVID NATCHER explains.


Looking to Lapland’s past for a sustainable food source

The Lappish cow—formally known as the northern Finncattle—is an endangered heritage breed in northern Finland. It was once the only cattle breed in Finnish Lap­land, and is particularly well adapted to the region’s cold climate and harsh conditions. By the 1960s and 1970s, it had almost disappeared entirely. But as PÄIVI SOPPELA explains, thanks to a group of devoted farmers—as well as national gene programs, a living gene bank and increased awareness of the value of these unique cows—the Lappish cow is once again grazing the fields and forests of Lapland.

Kjøland Illustration

Building a more sustainable municipality in Norway

Three towns are in the process of amalgamating to form a new municipality, known for now as new Asker. Part of the merging process involves searching for ways to ensure the community remains sustainable in the future. To do this, the towns are looking to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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.
Download this issue
The Circle 02.18