Let it begin…

Winter is weaving its thick heavy blanket over Norrbotten. Under mix feelings of DSC_0024excitement and concerns about the snow conditions, the town of Jokkmokk is getting ready for the annual Winter Market. Here in Aja, part of the Sami museum, more than 100 participants of the Jokkmokk Winter Conference 2015 are filling up the room.

A brief and warm welcome from Robert Bernhardsson, Mayor of Jokkmokk, Kjell-Ake Aronsson, Director of Ajtte museum and the JWC team sets the characteristic casual tone of this conference. The conference is one of the meeting grounds where young researchers, policy makers and climate senior experts truly come together to exchange, expand and create new knowledge.

“We are all dependent on each DSC_0053
other” says Ida Karkiainen, MP at the Swedish Parliament. In her talk, she stresses the fact that we need to keep building relationships and collaborations in order to create new ways of working with climate change. The title of her presentation, “Shaping our Future: Educating, Communicating and Collaboration!” is exactly what she believes in. At only 26 years old, Karkiainen made her way in the Swedish Parliament as a result of her concerns on how little the current government listens to the youth. Her speech is clear and articulated, an inspiring example for the young audience on how not to be afraid to actively engage in deciding our future.

Tiina Jaatinen, from the School of Environment in Finland and member of the reference group, then prompted all participants to map their experiences and learning interests. As one could expect, the result was very diverse. From Taiwan to Bangladesh, Minnesota to Finland. From policies to Indigenous knowledge. A promising and flavorful cocktail for climate discussions.

When communicating about climate science: Be honest. Be critiquing. Be self-reflective reminds Ilan Kelman, from the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. Science is never settled and knowledge is always evolving. Building on the common quote; be the change you want to be. Kelman says; Be yourself for your future.

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Selena Raven Cordeau is a member of the JWC reference group and student in the Masters of Indigenous Studies at the University of the Arctic in Norway.

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