A crystal-clear block of ice, edges shimmering with all colors of the rainbow; a cut-glass iceberg that never melts and forever remains a symbol of sustainable development in the Arctic – this is what Arctic Awards 2018 accolade looks like. Established by the Arctic World Club and the Association of Polar Explorers of Russia, this prestigious prize will be presented in Moscow on December 1, in recognition of the most important projects from all over the world promoting the development of the northernmost region on the planet. On November 29, journalists gathering at the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency media center were announced the Awards short list, along with presentation of the award to the first laureate.
Arctic Awards 2018 prize in the special nomination “For the Best Media Coverage of the Arctic and Antarctic” was awarded to Arctic.ru, a project by Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency. The website is the only information project at the international level dedicated to Russia’s presence in the Arctic.
Arctic Awards 2018 short list features another 40 nominees out of the 1500 applications received. Among the best candidates are prominent scientists, entrepreneurs, actors and philanthropists who have contributed greatly to developing the arctic and preserving its unique environment, such as Leonardo DiCaprio – the famous Hollywood actor (The Revenant, The Aviator, etc.), film producer and United Nations representative on climate change.
Together with director Fisher Stevens, DiCaprio recently filmed a documentary titled Before the Flood. The film shows DiCaprio visiting various regions of the globe exploring the impact of man-made global warming and meeting various people to try and find the answer to the question: what can we do for the planet before it’s too late?
Arctic Awards 2018 Ambassador, WWF Oil & Gas Program Leader Alexey Knizhnikov says the topic of the Arctic’s environmental safety is as relevant today as never before. It comes hand in hand with the topic of territorial development of the region. While some projects are studying the Arctic continental shelf and are investigating the opportunities to increase Arctic shipping traffic, other initiatives implement the methods to reduce pollution of the Arctic Ocean waters and liquidate the aftermath of human economic activities.
The multifaceted Arctic theme could not but affect the Arctic Awards 2018 short list. For example, Iceberg Design Bureau’s project to build an improved floating nuclear power unit for icebreakers, presented in the “Promising Innovative Arctic Project” nomination”, comes next to the project for utilization of nuclear waste in the Arctic, left behind by the Soviet nuclear industry, which is presented by the National Operator for Handling Radioactive Waste in the “Live Nature” nomination.
Sergey Egorov, the organizer of Arctic Awards 2018, President of Arctic World Club and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Arcticmorgeo company comments that this multifaceted approach in selecting nominations and projects helps reveal the wealth, diversity and breadth of the opportunities offered by the Arctic region and to showcase the most interesting projects dedicated to this topic worldwide. “Our objective is to touch upon all areas and aspects of development in the Arctic: from innovative and environmental to historical and sports projects”, he said.
Indeed, Arctic Awards 2018 focuses not just on innovative technological and environmental projects, but also on unique cultural and educational projects in the Arctic region, such as the Russian Arctic national park (“Knowledge is Power” nomination), which contains pristine natural landscapes and the largest bird rookeries in the Northern hemisphere. No more than a thousand tourists a year visit the park, but the impressions from this journey are comparable to those of space travel. Another example is the “Polar Classica” book series by Paulsen Publishing (“Polar Star” nomination). This is the only publishing house in Russia producing books on the Arctic and Antarctic, along with diaries and memoirs by famous seafarers.
The Arctic Awards 2018 organizers promise that the list of nominations and participants will only grow in the future, primarily with educational, academic and research projects in the Arctic. According to Roman Samsonov, head of Gas and Arctic unit of the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management Energy Center, the future of the Arctic belongs to young specialists that are just starting to conduct actual studies of the region’s opportunities. “Prizes like Arctic Awards, support by experts and public attention represent a powerful stimulus for the scientists to take a more active stance and address environmental issues in a new way”, he said.
Arctic Awards also focuses on developing the continent located just opposite the Arctic, on the South pole. In 2020, it will be 200 years since the Antarctic was discovered by the legendary Russian explorers Faddey Bellinsgauzen and Mikhail Lazarev; this means the interest in this region is only bound to grow in the near future.