Chair: A Yılmaz
Members: M Blunt, P Elshout, T Gibéryen, M-N Houssais, J Jania, E Topp-Jørgensen, M Vancauwenberghe, V Willmott Puig
During the POLAR2018 conference in Davos in June 2018, the European Polar Board held a workshop for its Members on ‘Minimising plastic use and waste in polar research and logistics’. During the workshop, discussion was held on how to reduce the polar research community’s contribution to plastic pollution globally. Workshop participants developed recommendations of how plastic use and waste can be reduced in four areas of polar research and logistics – logistics, scientific equipment and consumables, field equipment, and domestic uses as research stations and on vessels.
Jointly with INTERACT, the EPB convened a breakout session at the 2018 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, on ‘Minimising the footprint of Arctic research’. The session featured a range of international experts in polar research and logistics management and planning. Building on the Davos workshop, the breakout session discussed possible ways to minimise, or optimise, the impacts of Arctic research, including social impacts on Arctic communities. Panellists provided key recommendations on how the footprint of Arctic research could be reduced, all of which were captured and will feed into the development of guidelines for EPB Members to minimise the negative impacts of their field research activities. While focused on Arctic research, the breakout session also included perspectives from Antarctica, and how existing tools and instruments used there may be transferable to the Arctic to help protect the environment. The session included discussion of both marine and terrestrial research activities in the Arctic.
Following these two sessions, the Action Group on Environmental Impacts of Polar Research and Logistics was formed at the EPB’s Autumn 2018 Plenary Meeting with mandate to develop this initiative further, working in collaboration with other organisations.
The EPB Action Group on Environmental Impacts of Polar Research and Logistics works in collaboration with partner organisations including the SCAR Plastics in Polar Environments Action Group.
Synthesis Report on the Environmental Impacts of Research and Logistics in the Polar Regions
This report drafted by members of the AG has released in 2023. The report details the potential environmental impacts of polar research and offers many best practices on how to minimise potential impacts. It also considers legal frameworks that apply to the polar regions and includes a catalogue of already-existing guidelines on how to minimise environmental impacts in the polar regions. The unique aspect of this report is its synthesis of both the Arctic and Antarctic region, concerning minimising environmental impacts of polar research.
Many thanks to P Elshout, J Chappellaz, T Gibéryen, C Hansen, J Jania, K Jones-Williams, J Nolan, B Reverdy, E Topp-Jørgensen, A Yılmaz, R Badhe and other contributors to this report!
The Synthesis Report on the Environmental Impacts of Research and Logistics in the Polar Regions was introduced by the EPB’s Project Officer, P Elshout, at the Seventh International Symposium for Arctic Research ISAR-7, a workshop of theFieldwork & Environmental Impact" (find the video recording here) and several ASSW2023 meetings / sessions:
- Forum of Arctic Research Operators (FARO) Annual Meeting (17 February);
- Carbon footprint and Environmental Impact Reduction Workshop (20 February);
- "Building a path through the new Arctic in the age of melt-down, plastic litter and social media" Session (21 February).
During the POLAR2018 conference in Davos, Switzerland, the European Polar Board (EPB) held a workshop, titled “Minimising plastic use and waste in polar research and logistics”. A statement from the workshop participants is available here. A full report from the workshop is available here.
Recommendations from this workshop, detailed in the workshop report, outline measures that help reduce plastics use and waste in polar research and logistics. This outcomes were presented by EPB Chair Kirsi Latola at the 2019 Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromso, Norway. Slides from this presentation are available here.
At the 2018 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, the EPB co-convened a breakout session with INTERACT, titled 'Minimising the footprint of Arctic research'. A report from this session is available here.
Discussions from these sessions has fed into the work of the EPB Action Group on Environmental Impacts of Polar Research and Logistics.