Goodbye 2021, Welcome 2022! | Polarjournal
One of our highlights this year: enjoying the festive, calm atmosphere in Longyearbyen and seeing how the people there celebrate calmly and happily underneath the polar night. Picture: Michael Wenger

Anyone who has followed the media and their reviews of 2021 over the past few weeks will have seen which themes were also prevalent this year: Pandemic, climate and weather, conflicts and tensions. The polar regions were also affected. But there were also many positive events, we believe. Both on people’s personal levels and globally in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Who remembers the thoughts and wishes he or she had expressed or thought at the end of 2020? We at PolarJournal had expressed the wish, or rather the hope, that people who could only meet virtually in the year before could do so again in person and in the places that mean so much to them: in the Arctic and Antarctic. And indeed, the wish came true: people could move again in the Arctic and now also in Antarctica. People could visit your friends and relatives again, researchers are on the road again to increase our knowledge about the interrelationships of the earth, guides and lecturers are again leading polar-interested people to the home of polar bears and penguins and passing on the knowledge of the researchers to those tourists. And Arctic and Antarctic stakeholders met again in person to discuss the problems and solutions. All this despite the fact that the virus is still rampant in the world. The efforts to confront the virus made this hope come true.

The extreme meteorological events that hit numerous regions of the world in 2021 are partly rooted in climate change-related processes in the Arctic and Antarctic. But slowing down these processes can only be achieved through joint efforts. Photo: Archive

Other areas also showed positive trends for the polar regions. Politically, the new US administration is raising the bar again on resource extraction plans in the US Arctic to protect the region from harm; in Canada, the rights of the Inuit are being further strengthened and their knowledge, experience and skills are being counted on; Denmark is backing Greenland in Arctic affairs and giving them more and more leadership there. And in the scientific community, numerous research teams are gaining new insights into the diversity of the polar regions and identifying hitherto unknown interrelationships that may make it possible to create more accurate models of the effects of climate change. And as dark and frightening as they may be, with such data it should be possible to intensify global efforts and pull together on the same rope to ensure that the predicted effects will not occur. This hope exists, also in the coming year.

So while we look back, a lot of things in 2021 didn’t go the way we thought they would at the beginning. But there were still some positive things to take into the new year.

Let’s end the year now and enjoy the turn of the year in the circle of families, friends and colleagues. We at PolarJournal therefore say:

We wish all readers and friends of PolarJournal a Happy New Year and for 2022 the fulfilment of wishes and hopes. We look forward to seeing you here in 2022 for your daily dose of polar news and to help keep PolarJournal spinning, like the world.

The PolarJournal-Team Heiner, Rosamaria, Julia and Michael

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