The contemporary Arctic is characterized by diverse global challenges, many of which are beyond the control of its residents. These include, e.g. global warming, the degradation of vital ecosystems and the volatility of global markets. Issues of control and governance are increasingly challenging and complex, especially considering that Arctic environments have high commercial, recreational, social, cultural, and ecosystem value. The Arctic is therefore embedded in contemporary speculations on global futures and interconnected threats and possibilities.
The TransArct project investigates the potentialities of social innovation to provide solutions for Arctic social, economic, cultural, environmental, and policy changes and challenges, particularly in northern Fennoscandia. TransArct focuses on two nationally and globally important, but vulnerable (and often interwoven) development paths: mining and tourism. Linked to indigenous and alternative local, as well as global perspectives, these themes also form core foci of the Nordic Centre of Excellence “Resource Extraction and Sustainable Arctic Communities” (REXSAC https://www.rexsac.org), a related project of ours which TransArct will support. Examples of potential social innovations include new ways of locally monitoring mining impacts connected to complementary administrative EIA/SIA processes, and indigenous and local entrepreneurship linked with international sustainable tourism certifications and knowledge-sharing practices, including co-production of local environmental education.