Arctic Challenge for Sustainability – Intergenerational Everyday Life Perspective on Traditional Livelihoods and Climate Change

Dr Tanja Joona1

1Arctic Centre, University Of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland

The Arctic is often described as vulnerable, cold and exotic place with stereotypical images of indigenous and non-indigenous communities, where people live in peace and harmony with the environment. Arctic is also equal to climate change. No stories go without connecting the vulnerability of the Arctic to the survival of our whole globe. However, the Arctic is not a homogenous area or territory but there are many different states and actors living in the area. According to Flavia Schlegel, Arctic indigenous peoples are considered “resilient”: “They respond, innovate and adapt to this changing context, and this source of resilience is deeply rooted in their lifestyles and social solidarity”.

This presentation focuses on everyday life in the Arctic, specifically in Finnish Lapland. Lapland as a region has strong potentialities, as well as specific problems.

In the northern communities, cultural growth takes place in a social environment where family and family relationships are important. Traditional knowledge is forwarded naturally, utilizing the words and meanings associated with nature and animals. Throughout the centuries, nature, lands and waters, their origins and their sustainable use have been an integral part of the indigenous Sámi culture, and they are still today. Culture lives in everyday life.


Doctor of Social Sciences, Tanja Joona is working as an Associate Professor of Public International Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lapland. Joona’s main research interests focus on comparative legal and political aspects of Sámi society and especially issues dealing with traditional livelihoods, international human rights law and identity questions. She has been working with several national and international projects eg. on Sámi children and youth and she has several positions of trust at the University of Lapland. She is also a reindeer herder herself.

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