The Arctic region is a unique and important part of the Earth system and it is now experiencing some of the most rapid environmental, social, economic and geopolitical changes, resulting from combined long-range pollution, climate change and globalization.
Consequently, the Arctic region has now become part and parcel of systemic global economic, technological, cultural and environmental change.
Simultaneously, what happens in the Arctic region has significant implications on the global economy, world politics and, most importantly, the Earth system. Given these changes, it is crucial that the Arctic peoples and nations, the Arctic countries and the world at large gain a greater understanding of processes taking place in the region.
This observation has led us to propose that the Global Arctic be considered “an interdisciplinary laboratory of the Anthropocene”, in which no less than the future of industrial civilization is probably being played out before our eyes. The Global Arctic project thus aims to offer a structured approach and methodology of the Arctic in a global ecological, cultural, economic and political context.
In particular, it aims, on the one hand, at understanding the dynamics of the Arctic, as it increasingly becomes part of global changes, the world-wide resources and transportation economy, as well as global geopolitics and geo-economics with a danger of an ‘irreversible collapse’ of industrial civilization. Yet, on the other hand, the Arctic already is, and increasingly will be, a key agent of global changes, as it is also a place from where a paradigmatic change in global governance, as well as that in security, can emerge. Hence, the Global Arctic project will respond to urgent political and scientific needs to gain a better understanding of the globalized Arctic with rapid regional and world- wide changes.