Field Notes From A World on the EdgeBook - 2015
Future Arctic reveals the inside story of how politics and climate change are altering the polar world in a way that will have profound effects on economics, culture, and the environment as we know it. Struzik takes readers up mountains and cliffs, and along for the ride on snowmobiles and helicopters, sailboats and icebreakers. His travel companions, from wildlife scientists to military strategists to indigenous peoples, share diverse insights into the science, culture and geopolitical tensions of this captivating place. With their help, Struzik begins piecing together an environmental puzzle: How might the land's most iconic species--caribou, polar bears, narwhal--survive? Where will migrating birds flock to? How will ocean currents shift? What fundamental changes will oil and gas exploration have on economies and ecosystems? How will vast unclaimed regions of the Arctic be divided?
A unique combination of extensive on-the-ground research, compelling storytelling, and policy analysis, Future Arctic offers a new look at the changes occurring in this remote, mysterious region and their far-reaching effects.
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"... for every barrel of [tar sands] oil, 2.6 barrels of water [are] withdrawn from the Athabasca River. ... With oil sands production expected to triple by 2030, the amount of water being diverted from the Athabasca [River] could be as high as 30 percent of its natural flow. Some energy industry economists are already suggesting that the oil sands could face water shortages by then (p. 33)."
"The chief problem now is climate change which is rapidly melting sea ice. Without sea ice ... many [polar] bears will not be able to use it as a feeding platform to hunt ... ringed seals. As a consequence, polar bears will be forced to spend more time fasting on land where they pose a greater risk to human populations in the Arctic (p. 98). ... a landmark U.S. Geological Survey report in 2008 [predicts] that two-thirds of the world's polar bears ... will disappear by mid-century ... (p. 92)."
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