Exploiting Resources In The Arctic Exhibition

981 words - 4 pages

Throughout this exhibition the term exploiting will refer to benefiting from. Also, this exhibition will explore some of the ways, that people have been exploiting Arctic resources, for the last 4500 years. It will begin by explaining the location of the Arctic, and what indigenous people did to survive. Followed by, why Europeans went there, and what Arctic states are doing at present.

The Arctic is an area above the imaginary line of the Arctic Circle, which is latitude 66.6° north (Smith, 2009). This is a hostile and unforgiving place, with freezing temperatures and 24 hours of darkness in winter (Smith, 2009). Nevertheless, one particular place of interest is Devon Island, which has ...view middle of the document...

However, a certain sequence of events, may have helped these voyages happen. For example, in 1576 a crewman’s wife threw a sample of ore on a fire, and then doused it in vinegar, which made it sparkle with gold (Best & Collinson, 1867). The question is why did she use vinegar? Nevertheless, alchemist Giovanni Baptista Angnello then verified it contained gold (Jackson, 1993). However, the ore turned out to be worthless metamorphic rock (Beaudoin & Auger, 2004). Therefore, this suggests greed and fraud were to blame. Interestingly, metamorphic rock forms under pressure and heat, where tectonic plates meet (Brandon, 2009a). Furthermore, were these voyages allowed to continue, to create better Arctic maps thus claim sovereignty for England?

Nevertheless, the creation of maps may have played a key role, in the development of Arctic sovereignty – see exhibit five. In recent times, certain Arctic states have tried to expand their sovereignty through continental shelf claims (Smith, 2009). This may be due to fairly large amounts of fossil fuels being discovered below the Arctic Ocean (Bird, et al., 2008). Interestingly, as summer sea-ice decreases the Arctic Ocean heats up due to less sunlight being reflected, thus sea-ice may continue decreasing year after year (Brandon, 2009b). Therefore, there may be political hostility between Arctic states in the future, as valuable resources could become easier to extract.

This exhibition has shown that throughout history, indigenous people have used knowledge and skill, for practising sustainability of resources. It has also shown that from the 16th century, Europeans and colonists have used various methods, to profit from Arctic resources. Furthermore, this exhibition has attempted to communicate, how Arctic states and indigenous people have been exploiting resources for different reasons.

Works Cited

Beaudoin, G. & Auger, R., 2004. 'Implications of the mineralogy and chemical composition of lead beads from Frobisher's assay site, Kodlunarn Island, Canada: prelude to Bre-X?'. Canadian Journal...

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