One by one, each snowflake accumulate in a deep snow cover on Jokkmokk. Albeit fragile in itself, it is unity and bonding that makes this snow pack so strong. Perhaps this a good analogy to what is happening at JWC, each year, more unity and bonds are created over our common concern for the effects of a changing climate.
“We share this feeling even if we don’t talk about it; climate anxiety is real,” opened
Olivia Linander from PUSH Sweden and 350.org. More than 80% of Swedish youth face klimatångest, climate anxiety. This strongly reinforces the point of merging theory to practice. Communicating about climate science is not just about spreading out the facts, it is also about empowerment of people to engage in change. Be it through grassroots campaigning, civil society pressure on politicians or pushing universities towards Divestment; to withdraw investments from unsustainable corporations. We can use science to inspire momentum to take action.
In an age of faster than fast, where information is propelled to extents no one can hardly keep up with, communicating climate and energy matter is also about acknowledging that things take time. Time is needed for understanding processes, to implement change in all sectors, to come to common agreements, to evaluate long-term options. Short-term perspectives and a rush for the ‘Bonanaza’ is what brought us here. Now facing the pitfalls of thinking in a worldview based solely on economic growth. Lassi Heininen from the University of Lapland says we have put too much faith in technology as our savior. Technology has become the immediate go-to response instead of responsibility.
Our world is so connected, we cannot afford to adopt only one worldview. What happens in the Arctic, affects the rest of the globe and vice versa. Heininen argues for a multi-level governance approach for the energy politics of the Arctic. He says it is not the technical or scientific, but the political inability that prevents implementing favorable change for the future. Amongst the preconditions for implementation; civil society. “JWC is important for this; you are civil society!”
Time is also translated in the choice of procedures. For the Laponia UNESCO world heritage site, here in Norrbotten, all board decisions are based on consensus. A long and winding process, but essential and rewarding. The management sits in Jokkmokk to ensure local and Sami representation in the organisation. Jenna Lanta of Laponia, says the challenge is to make reality of the theories. For this, they look back in time, in the landscape surrounding them. The landscape hold stories that connect people to the land, to their roles in a sustainable environment.
Acts upon the facts, seems to be the reoccurring feeling about climate change and sustainable energy. Time should be invested in careful calculations and robust policies that will enable a long term increase in environmental and human well-being. However, direct action can be done immediately to participate in a healthier world.
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.