Arctic Heat / Tero Mustonen

Jun 27, 2024

That the Arctic is warming is not exactly breaking news on a planet where almost everywhere is warming. But it is critical news that the Arctic is warming almost four times faster than the rest of the globe since the polar regions are essentially the planet’s air conditioners. Last year’s Arctic Report Card documented that 2023 was the Arctic’s hottest summer in centuries, with all the attendant consequences: massive wildfires, late June Greenland ice sheet melt, sea surface temperatures 7ºC above normal, etc.

The list of firsts, or maybe better put, worst was a long one—and the early evidence is that those were trends, not anomalies, that continue in 2024.

Are we as a planet now locked into ever more warming? Are there potential tipping points that might produce even faster change? Are there actions that can be taken on a timescale that’s relevant to people living today?

Even if the answers are “Yes, Yes, No” are there initiatives at scale that are worth pursuing if only to adapt to the massive changes clearly underway? If that question elicits even a tentative “Yes”, then the places to start are at the epicenters: the Arctic and Antarctica.

Tero Mustonen— Finnish environmental leader, scientist, fisherman and past recipient of the Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prizeis spending his life working to make that last “Yes” more muscular. More immediately, he recently returned from traveling across the Arctic, which gives us a rare opportunity for a firsthand debrief.

Please tell us what you think and comment below

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In the podcast, Tero mentioned arcticseas.org where you can hear the authentic voices of hunters, women, and fishermen from Arctic villages as they share their knowledge, often for the first time. These communities, living sustainably in one of the planet’s toughest environments, offer vital messages about coexisting with nature.


ABOUT OUR GUEST

Tero Mustonen is the President and Co-Founder of the Snowchange Cooperative based in Selkie, North Karelia, Finland. Snowchange is a non-profit cooperative that was originally founded in 2000. It is also a large network of traditional and Indigenous communities around the world.

Despite its green global image, Finland has long relied heavily on the exploitation of Nature for income and debt repayments; Tero Mustonen is working to close that gap by smashing accepted Finnish norms and creating new realities. Mustonen is an academic, a professional fisherman and the President of Snowchange, an organization that leads landscape-scale rewilding projects. He works to protect and restore the unique biocultural diversity of Arctic and boreal regions in the face of climate change in solidarity with the region’s local and Indigenous peoples. He is a vocal advocate for Finland to take a role in progressive, climate leadership while his role as a lead author in the most recent assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is bringing global prominence to how Finland and other Arctic nations can meaningfully contribute to global climate efforts.  He is also the head of the village of Selkie, North Karelia, Finland.

 

5 Comments

  1. Uaifo Ojo

    First of all, I wish to thank Mr Tero from the bottom of my heart for the good fight he is fighting for our one planet as he correctly put it. He is a Global Hero

    The other thing that stuck with me is the current lack of a single Global agreement on how to tackle this Climate issue that is impacting all of us on this planet. It just doesn’t make sense

    The World dearly needs True Leaders that will tackle issues like this head on with some of the new innovative methods Mr Tero outlined here, we dearly need such Leaders now more than ever to chart a New Path forward for the whole of Humanity..

    Reply
    • Frank Byaombe Msambya

      Your comment is a powerful reminder of the challenges and the urgent need for global solidarity, innovative thinking, and leadership to address climate change. The path forward requires collective efforts at all levels of society, guided by leaders who are committed to the well-being of the planet and future generations.

      Reply
  2. Biruk Tamiru

    I would like to say thank you to the Tallberg Foundation and Mr Teron for such amazing conversation. One thing I want to say is here in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church we have one culture in every compound there are a lot of trees which shows the commitment of the Church towards the climate, in addition to this our prime minister Dr Abiy Ahmed is doing on Climate conservation initiative called Green Legacy which is planting trees in every region of the Country. Even the Green Legacy of this year started in this month. I wish Mr to meet both Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Leaders and Prime Minister of Ethipia, for experience sharing. Because I believe that they can do a lot to save our planet. Mr Teron see you soon discussing with both of the here in Ethiopia.
    God Bless you my Brother.

    Reply
  3. Frank Byaombe Msambya

    Tero Mustonen’s work highlights the importance of local and global efforts in environmental conservation. His first-hand experiences and actions in the Arctic can provide valuable insights and drive initiatives that strengthen adaptation and mitigation measures.
    While the situation is dire, there are still avenues for action that can make a difference. The work of environmental leaders like Tero Mustonen and targeted efforts at the Polar Regions are crucial. The global community must engage in comprehensive strategies to mitigate and adapt to the ongoing changes, ensuring a more stable climate for future generations.

    Reply
  4. LUZ BONILLA

    Every day, I am continually astonished by the disastrous outcomes that humans achieve with our actions. Hearing that fires can occur in places where I never thought it possible leaves me even more disconcerted about our future as humans. I was deeply impacted by what Tero Mustonen discussed, and I take away two key reflections:

    The first is that traditional knowledge must be combined with modern science to understand the planet’s changing realities. The second reflection is that where there is war, science cannot progress because access to information is cut off, as is the case with Russia. The world needs to open its mind to dialogue and set aside the ego that has distanced it from ancestral knowledge, which genuinely respected the planet and all those who inhabit it.

    Reply

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