The Consequences Of The Economic Development Of Polar And Sub Polar Regions

1406 words - 6 pages

The Consequences of the Economic Development of Polar and Sub-Polar Regions

Although indigenous populations established themselves centuries ago,
polar and sub-polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctica have only
fairly recently begun to develop. Originally classified as remote
regions in the world, where the only activities, which took place,
were small-scale fishing and hunting by locals in order to survive,
they have become sources of great economic development and prosperity.

Due to their proximity to many highly populated countries, Arctic
regions have perhaps experienced greater economic development than
Antarctic regions. The route of this economic development began
during the 17th century, when indigenous people began to increase
their contact with the outside world. For example, by 1700, trading
had already begun with the Hudson Bay Company in Eastern Canada as
people needed food and supplies to survive as their populations grew.

However, economic development was really boosted when people started
to exploit the wide ranges of minerals. The ‘gold rushes’ during the
1890s (when gold was discovered) brought in many prospectors into
Arctic regions, which led to planned investments by large companies
and governments in order to exploit the mineral. In addition, Canada
and Siberia had significant deposits of iron-ore, copper, zinc and
uranium, which led to commercial trade. Another factor, which even
today is still extremely important, is the abundant fish supplies. As
demand for fish increased worldwide, fishing increased dramatically in
countries such as Iceland and Norway, which led to trade and selling
fish on world markets, which made an enormous contribution to their
national economies.

One region in particular, which has experienced severe economic growth
and development, is the state of Alaska. In 1968, the great quantities
of oil and gas discovered beneath Alaska’s North Slope, overlooking
Prudhoe Bay, subsequently led to the construction of the Trans-Alaska
pipeline to Valdez in 1974. This increased communication links and
trade links and therefore brought in vast amounts of money for the
economy and until 1990, oil and natural gas still provided 85% of
Alaska’s gross state product.

As personal wealth and length of leisure time are increasing, people
are beginning to seek out new, more exotic locations. For example,
tourism in Alaska has become a vital industry, attracting almost 1.1
million people per year. Visitors not only come to view the landscape
features, such as its coasts, glaciers and mountains, but also to see
its huge variety of wild life (ranging from Brown bears to sea-lions)
and for fishing (especially salmon). Such levels of tourism have
increased economic development as tourists themselves bring money into
the state as well as foreign...

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