Introducing the Untame Podcast: Paradigm Shifters

Authors: Galina Kallio and Eeva Houtbeckers

What happens when you put sustainability researchers, activists, and thinkers into conversation with two scholars passionate about shifting paradigms, add some microphones, and press record? This is how the HELSUS-funded Untame podcast was conceived, and the result has produced inspiring, thought-provoking, in-depth discussions with activists and thinkers on the cutting-edge of change. In this blog post we will introduce the episodes from first season of the podcast, Paradigm Shifters, and give some insight into the discussions that took place. 

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Can humans save the Arctic fox?

Authors: Emma Holborn, Miisa Pikkarainen, Annastina Saari, Lorie Zhang (from the course ECGS-036, Arctic and Human Beings)

The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), perhaps one of the most beautiful and cutest mammals found in the Arctic area, is also a highly endangered species in Fennoscandia. During the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century, it was cruelly hunted near to extinction due to its precious skin. In fact, its skin was so valuable that it corresponded up to one year’s salary for a labourer. Currently, there are only 6-12 Arctic foxes in Finland, making it the most endangered mammal in the country. In Norway and Sweden, the population is slightly better with approximately 450 Arctic foxes in total, giving hope to Finland. Fortunately, in other Arctic areas, such as Canada and Alaska, the Arctic fox is currently doing well with 110 000 individuals. 

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Why is there no run for High Arctic resources?

Authors: Jenni Sohlman, Margaret Mullen, Paul Wittke, Tatu Leppänen & Zélie Jodogne-Del Litto (from the course ECGS-036 Arctic and Human Beings)

Even though we know that there likely is a plethora of resources that could be excavated from the High Arctic, economic activity in the region remains low for a multitude of reasons. Early in the 20th century, national interest in Arctic hydrocarbons started to intensify. Particularly in the second part of the century, major oil fields were discovered, and extraction began to take place. Still, after promising estimations in 2008 about the quantity of hydrocarbons in the Arctic, it seems that the discovery and extraction of new hydrocarbons has slowed down increasingly. When it comes to minerals of the High Arctic, the exploration and efforts made for extraction are still way behind the ones for hydrocarbons, and there are significant reasons for the tardiness of the development. 

Why is it then, that these High Arctic resources are not brought more into focus?

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Palsa mires — a glimpse of the Arctic future? 

Authors: Nea Ketola, Pauli Putkiranta, Aarni Vaittinen, Ruben van Baare (from the course ECGS-036, Arctic and Human Beings)

What will be lost as climate change alters ecosystems in the future? No one knows the full answer to this question. Some insight into future changes can be gained by studying “early warning” ecosystems, which are especially sensitive to changing climatic conditions. One is the subarctic palsa mire. 

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Weeping Willow: What Alaskan Indigenous perspectives of the Willow Project can tell us about climate justice in the Arctic

Photo by Chris Stenger on Unsplash

In the Arctic, changes to the climate and biodiversity are leading to irrevocable losses of cultural identity and livelihoods for Indigenous peoples. Regardless, new projects for fossil fuel extraction continue to be approved in the area, including the massive oil drilling venture known as “the Willow Project.”

This blog post seeks to shed light on the complexity of local Indigenous viewpoints regarding Willow. Inuit perspectives are far from unanimous, and some have even argued in support of the project. This multiplicity of Inuit viewpoints underlines the importance of including Indigenous peoples in early planning and decision-making, rather than simply assuming their standpoints based on essentialist stereotypes of Indigeneity

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Business and sustainability transformations: part of the problem, part of the solution?

D’Amato, D., Toppinen, A., Kozak, R. 2022. The Role of Business in Global Sustainability Transformations. Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781003003588

Drawing on contributions from more than thirty international scholars and experts in the field, this recently launched book, freely available in open access, examines the role of business – as an enabler, as an inhibitor, and, ultimately as a co-actor – in global sustainability transformations expected over the coming decades. Climate change, biodiversity loss, natural resource overuse, and other forms of human-caused environmental damage are globally recognized as interrelated, wicked challenges that manifest as disruptions to our existing socioeconomic systems. In the meantime, though, private sector companies must continue to make vital contributions to the world in the forms of goods, wealth creation, and employment.

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