When You live at 78ºN, You Become an Expert in Everything

Christin Kristoffersen, former mayor of Longyearbyen, talks about the challenges and adventures of daily life in the Arctic Circle, and the growing impact of climate change.
May 17, 2017, 6am PDT | PabloValerio | @pabl0valerio
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Climate change is a global issue.
“Ninety-five percent of the pollution we see [in Longyearbyen] is from the rest of the world,”

“In the arctic we see the changes first,” Kristoffersen said at the first Smart Island World Congress in Majorca last month. Climate change is already impacting the polar ocean and the lives of all its residents, humans and animals alike, she says. “We have a population of 2,300 people and 3,000 polar bears.”

The islands of Svalbard, the northernmost permanently populated location in the world, is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. The Svalbard Treaty of 1920, which established full Norwegian sovereignty over the archipelago, grants permission to any nation to conduct research on the archipelago, where most international scientific Arctic exploration is based.

Most of the pollution blows over from North America. The prevailing winds in the northern hemisphere carry that pollution up into the Arctic where the cold temperatures create precipitation, and the ground soaks up the pollutants.

When you live at 78ºN you become an expert in everything”, she proudly says.

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Published on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 in Cities of the Future
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