MIT, MIT EAPS, News, WHOI | December 20, 2016
From the Historical Exploitation of Resources to a Modern Academic Understanding: Massachusetts and the Arctic
By Lauren Hinkel
Massachusetts has had a long relationship with the Arctic, initiated by the whaling industry. But as Jed Willard, Director of the FDR Center for Global Engagement at Harvard College, writes for the U.S. Department of State, the years of Arctic exploitation have since passed, and exploration has steadily risen since the early 20th century with explorers like Donald MacMillan and Robert Peary.
It’s this, “legacy of exploration and understanding that defines the Massachusetts-Arctic relationship today.” Willard cites research institutions with Arctic studies programs like The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, “conduct groundbreaking research in the Arctic on subjects ranging from shifting ocean currents to phytoplankton-based food webs. Their partners at MIT’s “Oceans” department bring additional technical expertise to understanding the region, particularly regarding the effects of climate change.”
While not all American involvement with the Arctic has been positive, scientists from Massachusetts have since set adjusted the bearing—putting us on course for a bright future.