(5 of 5)
How can competing claims to the Arctic of environmentalists and entrepreneurs, nations and natives be reconciled? Antarctica, with no native population, has been saved from international competition by a treaty signed in 1959, which (among other things) bans all mining there until 2041. There have always been advocates of such an approach in the Arctic, but given well-established local populations and long-standing national claims, they have never gotten very far.
Meanwhile, as they always have, adventurers, hucksters and dreamers will continue to make their way north some of them in bikinis. Iceland's Valsson sees the Arctic as "the new Mediterranean," with warming temperatures fostering new centers of civilization in Siberia and Arctic Canada. Hammerfest bears witness to some of that: The population is booming, and a sense of hope infuses the economy. But as winter approaches in Resolute and the lowering sky turns dark, Kalluk, the Inuit hunter, suspects that dreams of a new world in the north are overdone. "Whatever else happens," he says, "the sun will still disappear for a good part of the year." The unanswered question is whether that will be enough to preserve the harsh beauty that he and others in the Arctic have long known and cherished.
With reporting by Laura Blue/London, Ulla Plon/Copenhagen, Andrew Purvis/Berlin and Hammerfest, Elisabeth Salemme/New York, Adam Zagorin/Washington and Yuri Zarakhovich/Moscow