Monday, June 13, 2016

Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic Field Notes: Week 1 at KTH Royal Institue of Technology

This article and the images originally appeared on KTH's Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic blog. 

There you can read about the Arctic course taking place in the summer of 2016! The participating students from KTH Royal Institute of Technology together with the students of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are writing about their experiences throughout the course.

Week 1 at KTH by Martin Alesund and Rachel Gutierrez

This week, we were given a brief overview of the course that we are taking. We also learned some general knowledge about the arctic, including: global climate change, melting glaciers, the rise in sea level, and the melting permafrost. Our main question we want to answer is: “How the society is affected by the climate change and its consequences?” We also learned that there are economic interests in the arctic that are also being affected by the climate change and climate change may pose a particular threat to these economies. The goal of this course is not “reverse” or “stop” climate change, but rather to better prepare for what is going to happen in the future and how to cope with these changes to the environment. Ms. Rosqvist was supposed to have lectures on Thursday and Friday but she was unfortunately ill so we watched a video supplement that described reindeer herding and how climate change is changing the routine of the Sami people and reindeer herding.


Bio on Martin and Description of his Week: My name is Martin Alesund and I am 25 years old. I am studying the first year in the master program of Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure at KTH. I´ve been living in Stockholm my entire life. Here comes a short summary of my week, since me and Rachel were at different places. The day before the course started, I wrote my last exam before the summer and had a massive migraine afterwards. The headache came back three days straight so despite coming to school for the 45 minute course introduction I was home in bed. I worked during the weekend. So my week wasn’t great and I´m really looking forward to the upcoming course.

Bio on Rachel and Description of her Week: My name is Rachel Gutierrez and I am from the University of Illinois in the USA. I am majoring in Atmospheric Sciences and minoring in Geology and I will be starting my fourth year in the Fall of 2016. I decided to take this course because I am interested in climate change and I thought it would be an amazing experience to be able to go to the arctic and learn about it. This is also my first time traveling to Europe, so my week has been quite exciting. I arrived on Tuesday, June 7th with some other classmates and spent a long time dragging our luggage from place to place as we tried to find the place to pick up our keys for the dormitories. Once we were settled, which took a surprisingly long time, we rested for the upcoming day of class. After class, my fellow U of I companions and I went touring around Stockholm. We went on a boat tour of the canals and bridges around the city and got to learn a little bit about the buildings that are on the water. We also went to Skansen, which I personally loved because I got to see many baby animals, moose (my favorite), and walk through 19th century villages and learn about the Swedish history and way of life at that time. Next, we visited the Vasa Museum which was absolutely incredible! I learned so much about the tragic fate of the Vasa ship and it was extremely fascinating to see how so many artefacts from the ship were preserved, almost as if a piece of 17th century Sweden is frozen in time. My first week has been filled with many new experiences and challenges, but I am certainly enjoying my time exploring a new place.

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