Charting Arctic and Global Interconnections: Workshops on Physical, Digital, and Social Infrastructures
Arctic biophysical and climate systems are deeply intertwined with global processes, so dramatic changes in the Arctic region are likely to be felt elsewhere. For example, Arctic shifts may trigger impacts outside of the Arctic including tropical forests turning to savannahs, monsoon systems weakening, and coral reefs becoming dominated by algae, all of which will have extensive consequences for humans across the world. Limited knowledge exists about the interconnections between the Arctic’s changing environment and socioecological systems across the world. The diverse but uneven effects of Arctic regime shifts on ecosystems and cultural systems highlights the need for research to better understand these Arctic-global interconnections. This project gathers scientists and researchers for two workshops to address how transformations in the Arctic may affect human well-being in global environments, in light of the rapid changes undergoing in the Arctic. Understanding the Arctic and global interconnections opens up new understandings of networked environmental effects and the various infrastructures through which its resources and representations are produced and circulated. As such, this research advances systems-level understanding of links between the Arctic’s rapidly changing environmental, social, and cultural systems with other regions and networks across the world. Scholars are invited to consider theory and methods for studying such interconnections through environmental, infrastructural, and social dimensions. The workshops emphasize the increasing complexity of physical infrastructures, especially energy infrastructures, and digital infrastructures in shaping knowledge of environmental transformation and mediating social adaptation to such change both within and beyond the Arctic. One outcome will be an innovative research program that responds to the research priorities of the Arctic Social Science Program and the Navigating the New Arctic Big Idea about interconnections of Arctic changing systems and global contexts. A report titled “The Translocal Arctic” will be generated by conference participants and made publicly available.