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November 7, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate is expected to consider contractor tax legislation. The House is in recess.


Meeting of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC), November 7, 2011. Principals (senior federal officials) will meet in the White House Conference Center to discuss a draft of the 5-year Arctic Research Program Plan (called for in the Arctic Research and Policy Act) and other federal Arctic research efforts and initiatives. Brendan Kelly, at NSF, is the Executive Director of IARPC. 


On Friday, Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) introduced legislation to abolish the Office of Polar Programs of the National Science Foundation.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Coast Guard SealHouse Considers Coast Guard Bill With Water Discharge Standards. The House on Friday began consideration of a three-year Coast Guard reauthorization, with passage of the bill expected after the chamber returns from next week's recess. The bill (HR 2838) would authorize funding for the Coast Guard for fiscal years 2012 through 2014, including approximately $8.5 billion for fiscal year 2012. It also would allow for 47,000 active duty personnel annually. On Friday, the House rebuffed efforts by Democrats to curb or eliminate a provision in the bill that would set national standards for the discharge of ballast water that conform with International Maritime Organization rules. Congressional Quarterly


Tracking Caribou, Shooting Hoops, Winning Trophies. Spring means murre eggs and bowhead whales. Summer signifies seals and salmon and berries. Fall and winter are a time to track caribou. And then there is that other season here at the edge of the earth, the one that never seems to end. It is called basketball season, and it, too, has become crucial to existence. "When I leave school I don't have to think about it, I know I'm coming here," said Caroline Long, 18, a senior at Tikigaq School. "I know for a fact that this is where I'm going to be." New York Times 


canadian flagNuke the Subs: Our military [Canadian] can't afford the luxury of useless equipment. [Opinion] The good news is that the Canadian government may scrap its four diesel submarines. The bad news is that they want nuclear subs. What is it about submarines that dazzles Canadian governments? It's understandable that the navy falls in love with exotic toys - and submariners are a breed apart, doing a tough and dangerous job to which not everyone can adapt. Historically, Canada's navy has an envious record - without submarines. So why do we want them? In 1998, we bought four submarines from Britain at the discount price of $750 million. A real bargain, we thought. Lucky we weren't offered suits of armor. Toronto Sun 


Proposed Cuts to Funding Threaten Arctic Research in U.S. and Canada. As tough economic times persist across the globe, it is no surprise that the governments of both Canada and the United States are looking for ways to trim their budgets and use resources more efficiently. In both countries, recent discussions about potential cuts have given rise to the idea of reigning in funding for Arctic research as a way to save money. While these proposals are not yet formal legislation, they have garnered concern among the research community as well as internal debate among policy makers. The Arctic Institute


Climate Shift Could Leave Some Marine Species Homeless. Rising temperatures will force many species of animals and plants to move to other regions and could leave some marine species with nowhere to go, according to new research. Science Daily


Russia and the U.S. to Count Seals. The permanent expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences will launch a large-scale project together with American scientists to count the number of seals in the Russian Arctic next year. Revealing the details of the project, a fellow at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, deputy director of the Beluga White Whale Programme, Dmitry Glazov has this to say: "A supplement to the agreement between Russia and the U.S. on the protection of the environment is linked to the preservation of marine mammals. We have drawn up a project for the next year to count the number of seals which come onto ice for reproduction. All seals need a hard surface to rest and give birth to their pups. There are four species of seals in the Okhotsk Sea and the Bering Sea," says Dmitry Glazov. The Voice of Russia


Oil Whale ExxonIn the Arctic, Disaster Prevention Via Behavioral Science. Can behavioral science prevent a repeat of the tragic blowout and oil spill that killed 11 rig workers last year in the Gulf of Mexico? The question is one of many being weighed by Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) as part of an ongoing review of the hazards, risks and mitigation measures associated with drilling offshore in the Canadian Arctic. "Behavioral issues are important, because behavior turns systems and procedures into reality," says a report submitted to the federal regulator under the title Changing Minds; A Practical Guide for Behavioral Change in the Oil and Gas Industry. "It is not enough for an organization to have good systems, because performance is determined by how organizations actually 'live' or 'act out' their systems." Alberta Oil Magazine 


Healy, Coast GuardCongress and White House Differ Over Icebreakers. The country's only two heavy-duty icebreaker ships are old and broken, and Congress and the White House are at odds over how to respond as the melting of polar ice increases the economic and security stakes in the Arctic region. The House on Friday was working on a Coast Guard spending bill that would decommission the Polar Star, slated to be the last somewhat seaworthy icebreaker after its sister ship, the Polar Sea, goes out of service in the near future. 


Norway Eyes Oil Era for Greenland. The Arctic nation of Greenland seems on the verge of an industrial revolution that's involving controversial oil exploration and several Norwegian players. At stake are the conflicting fortunes of fishermen, and huge environmental risk. Views and News from Norway


Canada Mulls Climate Monitoring Cuts Despite Arctic Ozone Hole. Three leading Canadian atmospheric scientists are urging MPs and senators to think very carefully before they agree to cuts to ozone monitoring in Canada. Prof. Thomas Duck, an expert in polar atmospheric research at Dalhousie University in Halifax, was one of the scientists who met over breakfast with 30 MPs and senators Tuesday in Ottawa to talk about Canada's role in monitoring the ozone layer and to explain the surprise discovery of a huge hole over the Arctic. Alaska Dispatch 


ICC at Mercury Talks in Nairobi: "We remind them of their global responsibilities for the effects of their pollution on the health of indigenous peoples." When negotiators from more than 120 countries worked last week in Nairobi, Kenya, towards a global agreement to reduce mercury emissions, Parnuna Egede, environmental advisor to the Inuit Circumpolar Council-Greenland, was there to represent the Inuit voice in the negotiations. More than 700 representatives from governments and non-governmental organizations gathered at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi to discuss the future global treaty on mercury, which they hope to reach by 2013. Nunatsiaq Online


Op Ed: Inuit Leader Embraces Change: Community must 'be competitive and use the technology to make a better life.' Mary Simon's grandmother was born into a nomadic existence in the Canadian Arctic, travelling with her family as part of a group moving from hunting ground to hunting ground. Two generations later, Simon, Canada's national Inuit leader, also lives a nomadic life, of sorts, flying frequently from the Arctic to southern Canada and around the world, comfortable in different languages, cultures and traditions. "I can revert back and forth. When I go up north I become an Inuk. When I am here, I can meet the prime minister - it doesn't faze me." As president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Simon is the face of the rapid change Canada's Inuit have undergone in recent years. She wants elders and others to understand that adaptation is key to the future and it is nothing to be afraid of. Edmonton Journal


Murkowski 2Op-Ed: The Road Ahead: Reflections on Native Suicide Summits. I took the opportunity of AFN this year to convene a field hearing through the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, with the intent of taking our dialogue on Native youth suicide to a next phase, one of informed national involvement. We in Alaska have been living with the harrowing reality for years, but I wanted to bring a Senate spotlight to our soil to fully bring about movement to fight this epidemic. And the focus lasted beyond that single event. Following the hearing, First Alaskans Institute helped facilitate a community visioning dialogue that focused on youth leadership development -- to empower the brothers, sisters and friends of our most vulnerable Alaskans. The following Tuesday, I spoke at the Alaska Area Action Summit for Suicide Prevention, a group that included many of the same dedicated people who participated in the field hearing. Now that Elders and Youth, AFN, and the Suicide Action Summit have concluded, the time for difficult, honest work has begun. We must harvest positive results from the troubling words and anecdotes shared. But the path ahead has tangible, attainable goals we can begin working towards. My field hearing generated a number of concrete steps that are worth pursuing. Evon Peter, former Chief of the Neetsaii Gwich'in, now director of the Maniilaq Youth Leadership program, suggested we need to be more invested in healing, wellness and leadership development initiatives. Tessa Baldwin, a senior at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, who founded Hope4Alaska, suggested we create a database of statewide events, programs and groups, to help people learn about efforts that are showing signs of success. Senator Lisa Murkowski  


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 2838, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act (LoBiondo, considered in the House)


H.R. 3373, to stimulate collaboration with respect to, and provide for coordination of coherence of, the Nation's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education initiatives, etc. (Honda, introduced)


H.R. 3391, to provide for the establishment of a national mercury monitoring program. (Pingree, introduced)


H.R. 3396, to abolish the Office of Polar Programs of the National Science Foundation, and for other purposes (Walsh, introduced and referred to multiple committees)

Future Events                                   


Arctic Policy Forum: The Role of Science in Responsible Development, November 15, 2011. Join the Institute of the North for this quarter's Arctic Policy Forum.  This presentation and networking event will focus on science and collaboration in the Arctic and will feature Michael Macrander, Lead Scientist for Shell and Fran Ulmer, Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. The Institute of the North's Arctic Policy Forums are a new way of engaging in Arctic issues. These quarterly networking events  serve to underline and elevate Alaska's role in the Arctic.  Informal policy presentations followed by networking events invite policy makers and administrators, researchers, community leaders and interested citizens together for an informal sharing opportunity. Participants will hear expert presentations on key policy findings and positions; emerging Arctic technologies; and challenges facing infrastructure development in the Arctic. Participants will also have the opportunity to spend time getting to know key stakeholders in Alaska's Arctic.

White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 2, 2011. President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior. As part of President Obama's ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference. This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President's commitment to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country.  


AGU Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011. The American Geophysical Union's ("AGU") Fall Meeting to connect with colleagues, broaden their knowledge base, and embrace the joy of science.  The groundbreaking research presented at this world-renowned event is critical to advancing our understanding of the natural world and to addressing the challenges society faces as they relate to our science. As an organization, AGU works to unite Earth and space scientists who are dedicated to the common goal: scientific discovery for the benefit of humanity.  One of the most important ways we do this is through the Fall Meeting - an event that embodies who we are as a scientific organization and that is key to helping us achieve our organizational mission, vision and goals. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research


 activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions.


US Arctic Research Commission meeting in Washington, DC, January 25-27, 2012. The Commission will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the 25th, and then with representatives from the federal government and other entities to discuss Arctic research issues. An agenda will be provided in early January here


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012 , April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in Arctic science and policy are also expected. More information to follow. 


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. 


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008. Details to follow.  


The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities; state, national and international leaders; the heads of shipping and industry; as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Heath, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and behavioral health.


Arctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World , October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, please email Lauren Marr.


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