Arctic News Roundup: 15-21 June

[Photo by Marc Lanteigne]
by Mingming Shi

1) The first inter-town road in Greenland is going to be constructed at the end July this year, as reported in Arctic Today. The project is planned to be built between the town of Kangerlussuaq and the Kangerluarsuk Tulleq fjord near Sisimiut, and is estimated to be 130 km in length. So far, there are no roads to connect settlements or towns on the island, and the major methods of transportation consist of ships and boats, as well as planes, helicopters and dogsleds.

2) The 17th of June is the Independence Day of Iceland.  On 17 June 1944, Iceland gained its full independence from Denmark. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the capital of Reykjavík, the traditional downtown parade was replaced with breakout events throughout the city, as explained in Morgunblaðið.

3) The 21st of June marked the Greenland National Day, which was established as a holiday in 1983. Citizens in all the settlements and towns on the island celebrate the date via social activities, such as public speeches, music playing, and traditional Greenlandic kayaking events. There were also ceremonial activities in several cities in Denmark as in previous years.

4) Several tracks of damage on a moss covered land, likely caused by snowmobiles operating off-track, were found within the Fjallabak nature reserve, in the Icelandic highlands, as Morgunblaðið reported. The wilderness of Iceland is vulnerable to this type of damage and the affected area may take up to a few decades to recover.

5) An article published on Arctic Today this week warned of an increasing amount of mercury inside local polar bears on the Svalbard archipelago, based on a research sampling of hairs from the species during 1995-2016. Scientists suggested that climate change and warming temperatures may be the source of this result.

6) Also from Arctic Today; a new article published this week explains the relationship between increasing regional temperatures, and the subsequent melting of permafrost in the Arctic, and the higher possibility of waking up some dormant bacteria and viruses. Consequently, animal and human security in the region are more likely to be threatened.

7) A commentary on the newly crafted new governmental coalition in Greenland was co written by Mingming and Marc, editors for Over the Circle. This piece introduces the background of the current administration in Nuuk and the members of the new cabinet, as well as a short examination of the governmental statement which confirmed the coalition, and a description of ongoing and future challenges for the nation.

8) Molly of Denali, a joint American-Canadian PBS and CBC Kids program for children and youth, won a prestigious Peabody Award, according to CBC News. The leading role of the show is Molly Mabray, a fictional 10-year old Alaskan girl with an Indigenous background.