chapter  3
23 Pages

Globalization: environmental change and human security in the Arctic

Globalization is an elusive concept. It is a phenomenon so multi-- faceted and chronologically opaque that its meaning is hotly disputed. At the same time, however, few deny that the international political world has been affected greatly in a variety of ways, both beneficial and harmful to certain groups of people, by what has come to be known as globalization. The notion of ‘the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring miles away and vice versa’ (Giddens 1990: 64) could be argued to go back as far as the onset of the age of imperialism in the 15th century, or even further, but has certainly been pronounced over the last 40 or 50 years as trade, culture and policies have become more global than ever. The opportunities, problems and political paradoxes produced by this change have gradually become apparent across most of the world over the last 50 years but, in the Arctic, the impact has been more recent, whilst, at the same time, more dramatic. Industrialization, urbanization and mass tourism are coming to a region previously only sporadically touched by these phenomena and bringing with them an array of profound environmental and social changes which will transform the literal and political landscape of the High North beyond that previously seen to the south.