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Arctic Indigenous Peoples and the Challenge of Climate Change

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Arctic Marine Governance

Abstract

This chapter presents climate change impacts on indigenous traditional harvesting, cultures, identities, traditional knowledge, economies, societies, health, and infrastructure in light of overall socioeconomic and political changes in the Arctic. Responses to these stressors can be autonomous (e.g., ad-hoc responses within communities) or planned (i.e., governmental strategies). Responses are evaluated here in light of the predominant scientific and political discourse on vulnerability and adaptive capacity. This dominant vulnerability-adaptation approach has had a major influence on policy developments and research, though requires greater problematization and critical overview. Therefore, notions of intervention, trusteeship, power, and the use of the language of crisis are discussed. As an outcome of these deliberations, further and genuine empowerment is presented as a primary response to climate change impacts and adaptation challenges.

Based on Koivurova T, Tervo H, Stepien A (2008) Background Paper: Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic. Arctic TRANSFORM. This chapter has been restructured and expanded with recent scholarship and in-depth discussion on the concepts of vulnerability and adaptation.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Co-management regimes are governance systems where resources, the environment, conservation, or land use are managed via joint (national, local, and indigenous) institutions and with strong participation from regional, local, community, and indigenous actors in policy making.

  2. 2.

    Mainstreaming is a policy concept whereby a certain issue is considered across different policy areas so that each addresses aspects of the issue concerned.

  3. 3.

    ‘Technology-induced environmental distancing’ means that the more technology is applied in daily lives, the less the individual and community understand and interact with surrounding environment.

  4. 4.

    See e.g, the EU Commission’s 2009 White Paper on climate change adaptation (European Commission 2009), as well as Mettiäinen (2012) on an example of regional adaptation strategy supported by the EU funding.

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Correspondence to Henna Niemi .

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Stepien, A., Koivurova, T., Gremsperger, A., Niemi, H. (2014). Arctic Indigenous Peoples and the Challenge of Climate Change. In: Tedsen, E., Cavalieri, S., Kraemer, R. (eds) Arctic Marine Governance. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-38595-7_4

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