Leaving Abisko & the Arctic

Suddenly birch leaves in Abisko are turning yellow. The temperature has dropped to 10°C. Mushrooms in all colors are appearing among the blueberry bushes. The Arctic, ”the earth’s cooling system”, is home to the most extreme changes in temperature, weather and seasons. In mid-August, autumn has already arrived to Abisko. This is one of the reasons why researchers come here; the Arctic is where the magnitude of climate change is expected to be the strongest.

By joining various research projects and courses based in Abisko, collecting photographic content and interviewing researchers and students, interns and visitors, we have learned a lot. At first, both of us felt foreign to the research carried out here, neither belonging to nor understanding what the ecologists and biologists actually were doing when collecting samples and measuring out in the mountains. Later on we came to realise that across different disciplines academic research is very much alike, or at least there is one common factor shared by all researchers. That common factor is called climate change. Everyone, irrespective of discipline or academic background; economists, communicators, political scientists, physicists and geologists, have all something to benefit from involving this common factor in there research. In Peace and Conflict Studies, from which we both derive, the changing climate is by many perceived as a pivot point from which greater knowledge of social movements and conflict can be drawn. Research on peace and conflict often focus on the bigger picture and sometimes disregard the importance of the small things, from where ecologists often begin their research and from which they draw their knowledge, such as examining the change of plants’ roots in one specific enclosed area.

It might sound a bit cliché, however, we have come to realise from these past months living in Abisko: to sit in front row watching our nature and climate changing is a privilege but also critical to truly comprehend the importance and critical stage of these changes.

As our internship is soon coming to an end and this is our last blog post, we would like to encourage everyone, irrespective of background, to visit the Climate Impacts Research Centre in Abisko and, if possible, do an internship. Or at least to enjoy and stay close to nature, to be able to truly realise the climate crisis we are in.

/Yrsa & Sebastian


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