Arctic Studies Minor
What is the Arctic Studies minor?
We cannot change nature, our past, and other people for that matter, but we can control our thoughts and actions and participate in global efforts to cope with these global climate changes. That I think is the most empowering thing we can do as individuals. – George Noongwook, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska
The Arctic is and has long been a vibrant platform for life, a regulator of the earth’s climate, and homeland for four million people. Presently, the Arctic is undergoing dramatic change due to global warming caused by capitalist resource extraction and the burning of fossil fuels. The region is warming at nearly four times the rate of the rest of the planet causing permafrost to melt releasing dangerous amounts of methane gas; large areas of sea ice to thin and potentially to disappear altogether; and, due to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, oceans to rise. Global warming is creating new maritime routes in the Arctic and greater access to some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves threatening to further integrate globalization with colonization.
Arctic change has implications for environmental and human rights including to health, well-being and self-determination. Of those who call the region home, 10% are Indigenous. This includes Inuit, Sámi, Unangax̂, and dozens more. Arctic and sub-Arctic Indigenous Peoples are increasingly shaping how the outside world understands the region, its long history, and its current challenges. Arctic and sub-Arctic Indigenous Peoples are influencing domestic and global relations, creating policies and laws that govern the region, and asserting that Indigenous concepts and worldviews guide research and scholarship. This is one of the most critical and dynamic times to gain understanding of the Arctic, its natural world and other-than-human kin, Arctic Indigenous Peoples, and other northerners.
When you declare a minor in Arctic studies, you will become part of a vibrant community of UW faculty, students, and outside experts dedicated to understanding one of the world’s most challenged and inspiring regions. Declare now and put ARCTIC on your transcript!