Polar Week Brings Attention To Arctic Issues

Prince George, BC, Canada / CKPG News
Polar Week Brings Attention To Arctic Issues

Photo Courtesy: UCLA-Department of Geography

The 7th annual Polar Week is wrapping up at UNBC. Each year, the University starts a conversation about the impacts of climate change and some of the challenges the arctic is facing.

“UNBC; for a small University, actually has a lot of faculty and students who do work in the arctic region and in the north, and it’s an opportunity for them to come together and think about that research,” says UNBC Northern Studies Chair, Dr. Gary Wilson. “It’s also an opportunity to bring in scholars from outside of UNBC who are also working in those areas and to connect with those scholars and hear about their important research.”

One of the guest speakers was the UCLA Chair of the Department of Geography. Dr. Laurence C. Smith held two lectures. On Thursday, he painted a picture of what the world might look like in 2050.

“If we extend our current behaviors we are looking globally at a world of somewhere between 9 or 10 billion people with consumption of resource,” says Dr. Smith. “We have an aging population that are struggling to fill their labor requirements as well as a litany of environmental problems…the future for our children depends very much on and where you live. If you are a family in Bangladesh living on the coast, you’re probably looking at relocation in the coming decades and century.”

Today, he spoke on a UCLA-led a study that reveals how rivers and streams on top of a sheet of ice covering about 80% of Greenland could be responsible for some of the rise in the sea level.

Climate change and it’s impacts remain top mind at UNBC, and not just for one week out of the year. “A lot of the trends that are taking place in the arctic region are also happening here,” says Dr. Wilson. “That research is connected, those trends are connected to whats going on in the arctic.”




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