"Dispatches from Europe" Blog Contest

Are you planning on traveleling to the European Union this summer? Submit a post to be featured on our Across the Pond blog and win prizes!

Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic Blogs

The third Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic class traveled to the Arctic Circle in summer 2014. Check out their blog entries from this summer!

Ringing the Bells at the Banner of Peace

Landscape Architecture Doctoral candidate Caroline Wisler reflects on her travels to Bulgaria.

Zach Grotovsky's Summer 2013: 14 Cities, 15 Weeks, One Long Adventure

University of Illinois graduate student in Germanic Literatures and Languages Zach Grotovsky documents his travels throughout Eastern Europe in the summer of 2013.

Polar Bears

The Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic class spotted polar bears in Norway!

Peaceful Opposition in Izmir

MAEUS student Levi Armlovich describes his experiences with the protests in Izmir, Turkey.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic Field Notes: July 4th by Enrico Lucca and Ellie McGrew

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.

July 4th by Enrico Lucca and Ellie McGrew


This morning we woke up and went to the town of Malmberget which can be seen across the valley from our cabins. Malmberget originally began as a classic mining shanty town and is still built around the mining industry. Tragically now it is being destroyed by the mine itself. This town of a couple thousand began to develop a large sinkhole in the 1960s and LKAB has bought part of the town and homes in the affected areas.

The entire town will no longer exist within the next 20 years. We walked around a neighborhood close to the deformation zone where it was incredibly run down. Mixed among the remaining homes were the ghostly remains of walls and gardens outlining the areas of houses that have already been removed. Looking through the fence you could see the giant hole a block or two away where the ground is collapsing. It was impossible not to wonder when it would expand and consume the land that you were currently walking on. Afterwards we headed over to the old sports hall where there was an exhibit showing Malmberget’s history. The display housed different pictures from community events such as dances, concerts, and pageants and also old class photos from the 1960s and 1970s of the local school. These images depicted Malmbergert in happier times before its slow destruction. In the gym was a large photo display of houses throughout the town from different years and old mining photos. A large model of the town helped display the layout of Malmberget. Finally we went to a historical recreation of the original shanty town where people were selling goods from the old buildings and homes. The shanty town is one of the few things in Malmberget that will be preserved and moved.

After lunch, an hour and a half drive led us to the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Laponian Area”. At the Naturum Laponia Visitor Centre, a guide showed us the exhibit and explained why a 9400 km^2 large area in North Sweden was designed as a World Heritage Site in 1996.

Laponian area is one of the 32 World Heritage Sites whose selection was based on the combination of unique natural and cultural values. This site contains exceptional natural beauty and it has been occupied by the Sami people for over 2000 years since the transhumance of reindeer herding. However, the exploitation of natural resources, which started in the early 20th century in Norbotten County, has posed several obstacles to the reindeer herding and to other activities which are impressed in the culture and in the history of the Sami communities living in the area. One of the most severe obstacles is represented by the numerous dams and their connected infrastructures, i.e. power lines and roads, which are used to regulate the water level in the Lule River for the production of electric power. 25% of the Swedish hydropower comes from the Lule River which was originally a basin composed of 7 lakes and alpine streams and is now transformed into a huge lake.

On the way back to our cabins we had to slow down and stop many times in order to herd lots of reindeer off of the road.
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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic Field Notes: July 3rd by Brittany Hancock-Brown and Mark Patterson

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.

July 3rd by Brittany Hancock-Brown and Mark Patterson
Today was the day we hiked down from Tarfala Research Station. When we got up, there was a lot of wind and rain and therefore very cold and not a promising start. We all gathered and packed our things and went down to the dining hall for breakfast. Instead of Adam making breakfast, we found Pia in the kitchen baking wonderful smelling bread. Along with the usual oatmeal, we had a great breakfast before we headed out. We headed out and the rain had stopped falling as hard—So that was good! We had to take our time coming down from the station because of the wet conditions in the weather. While waiting for the group to catch up at the first bridge, there was a Bohemian Rhapsody jam session. We also noticed that there was much less snow on the mountains than there was when we had walked up only days before. The water levels, consequentially, were much higher in the rivers and creeks that we crossed. By the time we reached the valley, the clouds had cleared up and the weather became ideal—cool, gentle breeze, and a lot of sun. Overall the hike back was much smoother than the trip up. We stopped at the Sami Restaurant and I had a reindeer burger. It was delicious!

After we reached the end of the King’s Trail, we waited for the bus to arrive. To our delight, the bus was massive, posh, and we had it all to ourselves! We switched vehicles at the airport, which was preceded by a challenging game of Frisbee with high winds. The new vehicles were private vans which we are renting for the remainder of the trip. We drove to get dinner and some of us chose to eat at Frasses and others ate at a pizza place. We then went to Coop to get food for the next few days. It took longer than expected since we had to coordinate meals with our new roommates and because some of us still have trouble reading food labels and navigating foreign stores. Then we started our hour and a half journey to our cabins. In our van, we passed the time by playing “guess the Disney song” game which involved Martin playing random Disney songs on Spotify and having us try to identify which movie it came from as quickly as possible. When we finally arrived at our cabins, we were delighted to see how wonderful our living spaces are. We have comfy beds, private bathrooms, full kitchens, a TV, wifi, and even a sauna! Perhaps the best thing of them all is the perfect view from our kitchen windows of the midnight sun.
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