5 Organizations Fighting For The Arctic Region

The Arctic region is composed of oceans and seas as well as parts of Alaska, Finland, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Russia, Norway, and Sweden. A richly biodiverse part of the world, it is being threatened by climate change. Luckily, many organizations exist to protect this unique place. In no particular order, this list shares a few of them.

The #1 entry is the Pax Arctica initiative. Founded and led by Luc Hardy, it was created to promote awareness of the threats facing the Arctic, polar regions, and oceans. It aims to convey a global message of peace and support the introduction of new ecological regulations. The organization pursues its mission through several complementary activities, from eco-scientific explorations to the production of various books, films, and photographs.

In 2012, the organization embarked on an expedition to Alaska, specifically to the Aleutian Islands. The journey started in Dutch Harbor and terminated on Kodiak Island. An earlier trip to the North Pole was organized in partnership with Green Cross International and was meant to document the ongoing transformation of this part of the world.

Coming in at #2 is the World Wildlife Fund Arctic Program. This NGO focuses on several major areas of environmental concern, including forests, oceans, wildlife, food, climate, energy, and freshwater, as well as three key drivers of environmental problems: markets, finance, and governance. The organization runs digital campaigns around pressing issues facing the region, such as the excessive noise made by boats and oil drilling, which affects whales and other marine creatures' ability to communicate.

The organization publishes helpful materials such as the Hudson Strait Mariners' Guide. Made up of two large posters to be hung on a ship's bridge, the chart helps mariners identify and avoid whales, seals, polar bears, and walruses. Other maps depict marine mammal habitats in both summer and winter.

Next up, at #3, we have Ice 9-1-1, a nonprofit dedicated to researching ways to stabilize the global climate. The organization was founded by Dr. Leslie Field, an MIT and UC Berkeley chemical and electrical engineering graduate. Dr. Field and her team have been working on testing and developing material approaches that could be used to make young, thin ice reflective.

The organization is particularly interested in hollow microspheres, chosen for their safety, effectiveness, and practicality. The material can be thought of as a kind of small, fine, white beach sand that floats; similar, in some ways, to snow. The reflective beads stick to ice and water on contact, and their chemical composition ensures they don't attract oil-based pollutants.

The #4 entry is the Climate Impacts Research Center, based in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umea University in Sweden. It conducts interdisciplinary research, from detailed process-level studies to comprehensive landscape-level types, in both aquatic and terrestrial Arctic ecosystems. In addition, it hosts outreach programs, offers public lectures, and facilitates field excursions.

The center offers a range of instructional programs in the Arctic, which include bachelor and master's-level courses and thesis work. Three yearlong classes are available, allowing students the chance to deeply immerse themselves in studying ecosystems while living at an internationally recognized research station.

Last but not least, we have #5, The Polar Connection, home of the Polar Research and Policy Initiative, a London-based, international, independent think-tank dedicated to Arctic, Nordic, North Atlantic, North Pacific, and Antarctic affairs. Its mission is to raise awareness and support research of these regions.

The initiative often hosts roundtable discussions and workshops about issues pertaining to the Arctic, such as "Maritime Futures 2035," co-hosted by the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Polar Connection has been featured in many media outlets, such as Reuters and Devex.