The Circle

The Arctic Under Pressure

© Bob Wick / Bureau of Land Management Alaska / CC / Flickr

WHEN I STARTED working with WWF in fall 2017, one of the first meetings I attended was about the organization’s plans for the two years leading up to what it was calling “the Super Year”: 2020 was seen as a critical year in the history of our planet, a time when countries around the world would achieve important targets to prevent biodiversity loss and finally articulate their plans to reduce carbon emissions for a healthier planet.

In this issue

In the 02.21 issue of The Circle, we explore what pressures species and people are experiencing in a region that is warming three times faster than the rest of the planet.

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Andrea Pokrzywinski, CC, Flickr

In rural Alaska, things are not as they seem

Many people have the impression that water is widely available to everyone in the Arctic. They would be surprised to learn that actually, rural Alaskan households often lack sufficient access to the water they require for their daily needs. Antonia Sohns explains.

Timkal, Wikimedia Commons

Saying no to the Baffinland mine expansion in Canada’s Arctic

Located on the northern tip of Canada’s Baffin Island, Baffinland’s Mary River Mine produces 6 million metric tonnes of iron ore every year. It’s already the biggest industrial development project in the Canadian Arctic, but the company wants to more than double its production. Inuit in the area are concerned about the effects, and a public hearing has been taking place in Iqaluit and Pond Inlet.


Photo: Christopher Michel, CC, Flickr

Increasing ship traffic means a noisier Arctic Ocean

It’s common knowledge that as the Arctic melts, more ships are able to pass through the Arctic Circle. As JENNIFER BRANDON writes, these ships— combined with the Arctic basin’s unique geographic properties—are increasing noise levels in the area significantly, creating a big problem for Arctic marine mammals who rely on sound to communicate, navigate and hunt.

WWF oil and gas policy aims to transform where we get our energy

We are trying to halt climate change because we want to protect the whole planet from devastating ecosystem changes that will fundamentally alter our lives. The solutions that will help us bend the curve on climate emissions seem so easy, yet are difficult to pursue. We have to stop burning fossil fuels and enable nature to store carbon. WWF’s oil and gas position aims to make this happen. RAGNHILD ELISABETH WAAGAARD explains.

Photo: Aurora College

The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq caribou herds of Canada: On the road to serious decline

The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq barren-ground caribou herds migrate seasonally in search of food, using habitat in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, northern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba. Unfortunately, these herds are in slow decline.

Ivan Mizin, WWF Russia

Strategies to help people and animals coexist

Around the world, human-wildlife conflict is seriously affecting conservation efforts and livelihoods—and sometimes leading to casualties on both sides. An upcoming WWF report will elevate the issue globally. And as FEMKE HILDERINK explains, it highlights the need to unlock resources and partnerships aimed at enabling long-term coexistence.

Building intergenerational dialogue to solve Arctic Challenges

Having recently celebrated 25 years of existence, the Arctic Council continues to evolve. It is now chaired by Russia after Iceland passed along the chairship in May 2021. The organization’s focus on youth engagement has been growing and is a major priority of the Russian chairship. ARSENII KIRGIZOV-BARSKII and PÉTUR HALLDÓRSSON share their perspectives on how the Arctic Council and youth can work together during the Russian chairship to solve Arctic challenges.

Drumming up a cultural connection for Greenlandic Inuit

FOR CENTURIES, the Kalaallit—the Inuit of Greenland—have lived in harmony with polar bears, narwhals, seals, birds and the other Arctic species in the region. But it is a connection that Leif  Saandvig Immanuelsen fears is quickly disappearing.

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 02.21