When we were deciding on the theme of this magazine in late 2019, the choice of climate action seemed obvious.
The whole world was uniting behind a 15-year-old school girl from Sweden, and the message from the youth through the school strikes on Fridays was very clear. “There is no planet B – let’s act now.” “Let’s listen to the science – and act now.” The call for action was like a massive wave. Amidst the despair there was also light: perhaps there is hope for the world after all, if we all unite in action, right now.
We sent the call for submissions to UArctic’s entire membership, asking them to propose articles of their own around the theme. Their response was overwhelming both in amount and variety. Each piece speaks of climate action but there is diversity in their perspectives, ranging from member institutions’ internal actions to those of education and research programs and projects, without forgetting how each of us as individuals can make a difference.
In spring 2020 the world was taken by surprise by another very immediate challenge, COVID-19. While we are desperately fighting the pandemic, I hope that we are also able to learn from the ways in which we coped during the crisis. Issues like digital mobility and online collaborative classrooms got an unprecedented push; some call it a giant digital leap. We need to keep building on those opportunities, so that we can make international collaboration less harmful to the environment and also possible in times of such crises. Just like the world united under the slogan “Stronger Together” to combat the pandemic, we can, through collaboration, tackle one of the biggest challenges the globe has faced: climate change. In that, strong international collaboration on all levels of society is a prerequisite.