This introductory quote is discouraging. It prompts us to ask whether ‘sustainability’ is even worth investigating and whether, per implication, the study of transitions into sustainable futures is for naught. In my contributions to the HYGGE blog, I hope to provide convincing arguments that meanings and means of sustainability can indeed carry critical weight, and that Arctic sustainability as an emerging concept is well suited to expose and help resolve contemporary challenges in Arctic and mountain regions spanning sociocultural, environmental, political, and economic realms.
When talking about well-being and prosperity of people living in the world’s Arctic and mountain regions, it is important to recognize the integrated nature of both the problems individuals and communities are facing, and the solutions that can be applied to solve these problems. ‘Sustainability’, then, is a synonym for a holistic approach that acknowledges the integrated nature of challenges.
Throughout 2015 I will discuss current approaches (and gaps) to understanding Arctic sustainability as both rooted in discourses of global sustainability and sustainable development in the Arctic and stemming from understandings of the Arctic and mountain regions as distinctive social-ecological systems with unique and geographically localized characteristics. I will introduce current research networks, such as Arctic-FROST (Frontiers of Sustainability), and CACCON (Circumpolar Arctic Communities Observatory Network) to inquire how progress in conceptualizing sustainability in Arctic and mountainous contexts may inform community well-being and prosperity in the North and elsewhere. I will also discuss recent and upcoming conferences inquiring sustainability in the Arctic, including the 8th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences held in Prince George, BC in 2014, the Arctic-FROST Annual Meeting 2014 in Anchorage, Alaska, and the upcoming 2015 Arctic Science Summit Week in Toyama.
-Rudy Riedlsperger, AMRDI staff and Hygge contributor