Seminar: Humans Impacts and Drivers of Arctic Change

Larry Hamilton - Professor of Sociology (UNH)

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Interdisciplinary research such as the recent North Atlantic Arc (NAArc) project have shown that resource crises can result from complex interactions between physical, biological and social systems. Responding to resource change, communities often show characteristic patterns of social change, driven by resources but also other socioeconomic forces. Resource shifts often create winners and losers. How benefits and costs are distributed depends not just on environmental advantages, but also on variables such as institutional response, investment, human capital (education and skills) and social capital (networks and patterns of cooperation). Social indicators provide ways to track social changes, and to relate these both to environmental changes and to more qualitative historical or participant accounts. In general, the integrated-research findings caution against a simple view that climatic change determines societal outcomes. In all cases studied, the story proves to be more interesting and complex.

For an example case study of Iceland’s “Herring Capital,” see:


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Last updated November 21, 2007
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