Continuity

Because of plagiarism concerns I can’t really write anything on the contents of the masters here, at least not in the same phrasings or before it is submitted, as it would be severely counterproductive for, well, both projects. Regardless of that fact quite a lot of interesting things have taken place during the last month!

Something I can say however is that there is a knowledge gap I have found, which I am now in the process of filling.

A quote that is somewhat related to these findings is this of Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) from today: ‘When looking back in 2100 it will be with a certain irony when realising it was actually fossil fuels that caused climate change; what did we do as the Arctic melted? Went straight in and drilled for more oil.’

This week I have been attending Arendalsuka, as GRID hosted some very relevant debates on the future of the Arctic. Something that was mentioned was that the High North, in this context meaning all Arctic affairs, are not on the national agenda (often enough), whereas it is a very hot topic in international news! A good place to start to get more informed is http://barentsobserver.com/en/sections/energy if you feel you are missing out on what’s happening, it can lead you to the right places.

To finish of this brief post- Sara Olsvig, Member of the Danish Parliament, and Member of the Parliament of Greenland (Inatsisartut) said an actual problem for the indigenous population in the Arctic is how the Arctic animals are always portrayed as being cute and fluffy, when the people living there needs them for food and sees them as nothing different than the farming animals of the south, and how it is not helping when climate campaigners focus too much on just how cute the polar animals are.

Finally moved on from early stages!

A quick word of advice to future master dissertation writers; when you have the broader structure around what you intend to write, it all loosens up! When I realised, with guidance from my supervisor, that to write it in the style of a report was the way to go it all finally made sense!

Since then I have done two interviews with two Coastal Sami representatives.

When reading the news while in this process, it all seems related to the Arctic, and I’m very pleased that this is on the agenda in the broader news picture as well these days!

Besides from that, it’s little to report under the sun, the writing continues..

Early stages

Since the last blog entry, I’ve mainly done some reading (see illustration below). The book ‘Den nye nordområdepolitikken’ = ‘The New North Area Politics’ got me feeling very grateful that I get to research something I find both so interesting and meaningful!

 

IMG_5026

 

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the field trip to the North has been delayed until July. Meanwhile, I’ve gotten an excellent contact at the University of Nordland, PhD student Astri Dankertsen who tipped me of who to contact to get in touch with my interviewees, so I contacted:

– Várdobaiki in Evenes muncipality

– Árran in Tysfjord municipality

– Kåfjord in North-Troms (Lyngen, Kvænangen, Gáivuotna Kåfjord, Skjervøy and Storfjord municipality)

– Porsanger municipality

– Nesseby municipality in Finnmark

– Aja Sami Center

– Sami Language- and Culture Center in Porsanger

– Varanger Sami Museum

– Isak Saba-Center in Nesseby

– A few members of the Norwegian Samis National Association

– The Sami Council

– The Sami Accociation

– Sami Student Accociation in Tromsø

 

Purely by doing research from afar on this fascinating and secretive part of Norway, I realize how much there still is to discover, and I can hardly wait until I can visit!

 

Stay tuned for more (regular) blogpost!

Finally starting! almost..

Since the last entry a small alteration has happened to the dissertation title. After a meeting on the 15th of May with one of my supervisors from the university, Dr Paul Sheeran, it turns out that the English tradition for master titles is that it should be a question that can be answered with a yes or no. This goes against what is the standard for Norwegian titles, as it is considered leading, but this is going to be written for an English university, so I am changing my title to:

Will there be consequences for the Coastal Sami of an Arctic oil spill?
– with a case study from Tromsø​
In regards of the case study- tonight I have contacted:
– Sami University College
– Centre for Sami Studies at the University of Tromsø
– The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
–  Ministry for Labour and Social Inclusion, as they work with integrating sami
– University of Oslo, office of indigenous studies
– Research Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
– University of Lapland
– Pitesami Centre
– University of Nordland
All in order to start the field research where I aim to get in contact with Coastal Samis to ask them about what they think will be the effects of an Arctic oil spill and how this will affect them. I am planning a journey to Tromsø in the second week of June, and hopefully some interview arrangements will be in order by then.
Officially my master still have not started yet, even though the last exam was handed in on the 15th of May. I will receive the green light on the 1st of June, and in the meanwhile I hope to read myself up with two excellent books I came over yesterday:
‘Indigenous peoples: Resource management and global rights’ by Svein Jentoft and
‘Integrated Coastal Zone Management’ by Einar Dahl, Erlend Moksness and Josianne Støttrup.
Until then!
One last thing – today Norway suspended state owned Statoil from oil drilling in the far most Northern area so far, near Bjørnøya, this ban from the Arctic is a small victory so far, but it is not a permanent ban, so it is still valid to ask affected people on their opinion of Arctic oil drilling and its consequences.

The Idea

Hello. Over the next couple of months, more specifically from 1st of June to 27th of September, I will report here the process of writing a master from the first idea to the fieldwork in the high North to the finished document. Coming from an environmentalist background, I knew early on that my master had to entail how the oil industry is affecting the changing climate. With the recent questioning of opening the Arctic for oil drilling a thesis started forming. While doing this master a growing interest in the indigenous people has formed and their immediate connectedness to the nature seemed inevitable to not include. How the ones who have contributed the least to climate change now suffers the most deserves the attention of the academic community and society at large.

On Tuesday this week I went to London to meet with one of my supervisors, Ilan Kelman, with a few questions written down. (We came in contact over a module where I did research on Arctic indigenous and he represented an organization called ‘Many Strong Voices’ that works with how the indigenous people of the Arctic and small island developing states share many of the same vulnerabilities but also strengths. Many Strong Voices builds bridges between people who would normally not have met, so they stand stronger together in the UN’s climate negotiations) What I would like to seek the answers of is: 

– How the opening of oil drilling in the Arctic will affect the indigenous people living there?

– What type of resilience do they posses when dealing with an oil leakage?

– Can any of their indigenous knowledge be applied towards how to strengthen their resilience?

– How the indigenous would become climate refugees if their land and water became impossible to live by

– On the different forms of disaster reductions that can reduce an oil leakage in the Arctic

After telling Ilan that I intend to do field research he concluded that this is more realistic on a student friendly budget when it is done within the limits of Norway. The other factor for limitations when it came to why not studying the indigenous of Denmark with Greenland or Canada, we discussed their oil politics in the Arctic, and concluded that Norway as an oil nation is more interesting, and also Norway has not yet physically started drilling for oil in the South-East Barents Sea, which is the controversial area that was recently opened up after a hasty concession round in november 2013. We had then limited it down to involve the indigenous people of Norway, the Sami, but as I wanted to study the ones who will be most affected by a possible oil spill I chose the Coastal Sami. There is little research done on this, which makes it all the more exciting. 

Then and there after merely 10 minutes a master thesis was formulated – ‘Consequences for the Coastal Sami of an Arctic oil spill.’

But I had more questions;

– Can I include how the ocean and underwater ecosystems will be affected? – Yes.

– Can I use the deep ecology movement as formulated by Arne Næss as a theoretical basis? – If the university agrees then yes.

As this got to be a very enthusiastic conversation Ilan reminded me of something crucial – that while writing this masters I am purely an objective scientist with no predisposition towards either the oil industry or the environment or the indigenous. The future of this work depends on this. So possible enthusiastic outburst over positive findings will therefor be articulated on this blog instead.  

What I can reveal so far on what is going to happen is the planning of the field work, a journey to the North this summer and hopefully a lot of unexpected findings and smaller revelations. I look very much forward to get started, but first I need to write my final exam for this university before the master can start on the 1st of June. I will update as often as I have interesting stories.

My aspirations for this masters is that it will draw new connections and put the future of the Coastal Samis on the agenda in Norway and that they will be an important part of the equation when Norway discusses the question whether we should take part in Arctic oil drilling.