chapter  1
41 Pages

Tourism and Change in Polar Regions: Introduction – Defi nitions, Locations, Places and Dimensions –

ByC. MICHAEL HALL AND JARKKO SAARINEN

Introduction The world’s polar regions are attracting more public and scientifi c attention than ever before. The Fourth International Polar Year 2007-08 provided a focal point for Arctic and Antarctic scientifi c activity; however, probably of greater signifi - cance are the issues of climate change and increased interest in the energy resources of the Arctic region, which have substantially affected the geopolitics of the polar regions. Indeed, political and economic change, for example the granting of self-government to Greenland, appears to go hand in hand with environmental and social change. Both the Arctic and Nordic Councils, as well as member governments, have also expressed concerns about the potential changes that may occur as a result of energy exploration and extraction and climate change, particularly with respect to the impact on indigenous peoples (Arctic Climate Impacts Assessment [ACIA] (2005); Anisimov et al. 2007). Iconic wildlife, such as polar bears, penguins and whales, have also become standard-bearers for the conservation response to global environmental change.