Davin Holen, E. Lance Howe & Guangqing Chi
Around 13,000 people from outside Alaska arrive each summer in the Bristol Bay region of Western Alaska to participate in the world’s most valuable wild salmon fishery. The small regional hub community of Dillingham is the home port of the Nushagak River salmon fishery. The National Science Foundation funded a RAPID project to assess planning needs for the fishery, community, and region. Our project developed pandemic preparedness scenarios for local residents and decision-makers through online surveys to better understand the costs and benefits of varied mitigation policies; and risk preferences from fishers, processors, local residents, and local decision-makers to better understand cooperation and decisions under risk and uncertainty.
Elena F. Tracy
In 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic of COVID-19, the WWF Arctic Programme commissioned a study, COVID-19 Green Stimulus & Jobs in the Arctic, on the environmental impact of stimulus packages announced by eight Arctic nations.1 Ten green policy areas were identified for the analysis: green infrastructure investments and nature based solutions (land use), green R&D, new grid and grid innovation, solar photovoltaics (energy), bailouts with green strings attached, energy efficiency retrofits in buildings (industry), green R&D, bailouts with green strings attached (transport), and expanding management and recycling of waste. Their potential was measured by the number of green jobs to be created within each policy area per a million US dollars invested. Out of these areas, nature-based solutions and waste management received the highest score for their green job potential.
Sappho Z. Gilbert, Jade B. Owen & Jamal Shirley
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Within days, societies across the globe saw their schools, offices, and even borders closed. As in other regions, countless research projects in the Arctic were forced to come to a halt. For studies involving fieldwork, human subjects, and/or travel, the shift to work from home initially offered little productive potential. After a largely lost research season—which, for some, turned into two or more—studies across the circumpolar north have since returned. In certain parts of the Arctic, like the Canadian territory of Nunavut, research activities are now peaking once again. This has raised concerns about the research-associated burdens that communities may face amid this resurgence. Ethically conducted, locally partnered research can result in timely, co-produced knowledge that fills critical evidence gaps about the North. However, these benefits must be newly evaluated and weighed against their potential costs, with renewed perspective on how to best manage this influx—particularly as Arctic research conditions continue to evolve.
Daria Burnasheva & Mariia Osipova
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on people’s livelihoods in the Arctic. Essential aspects of human wellbeing, such as access to basic health services, education, food and goods, transportation, and economic development, have all been severely tested during the pandemic, particularly in remote and hard-to-reach areas. Adding to the challenges posed by the coronavirus, unprecedented wildfires and floods in various regions of Sakha (Yakutia) have further intensified the pressure on indigenous and local communities. It is crucial that the assessment and analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic not only consider, but also integrate these factors. Doing so will enhance our understanding of the comprehensive impacts of the pandemic in the Arctic.