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Arctic Triumph pp 129-146 | Cite as

Not All Black and White: The Environmental Dimension of Arctic Exploration

  • Nadia French
Chapter
Part of the Springer Polar Sciences book series (SPPS)

Abstract

The modernist narrative of human progress noticeably shifted under the climate change paradigm, which brought into the Arctic discourse both slow long-term processes resulting in shifting biophysical properties of the entire planet and rapid tipping events and their effects onto its nature and people. While literature abounds with images of mythical opposition between the Arctic nature and the industrial advances of the increasingly resource-dependent world, the lessons learned from the decades of exploration are often taken matter-of-factly. This chapter explores the modern environmental history of polar exploitation and probes for ways in which changing representations of the Arctic environment have shaped our interactions with it. While taking stock of regulatory, political and attitudinal shifts is an important thought experiment, the overall lesson is that the ‘catching-up’, action-before-knowledge approach may not hold up in the future.

Keywords

Arctic exploration Environment Extractive industries Cleanup Preservation 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadia French
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Geography, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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