Svalbard as a symbol for a sustainable approach to research activities

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Wenfang Geng
  • Marie Magdalena Halatova
4. Term, Sustainable Design (M.SC) (Master Programme)
Under the pressure of increasing environmental issues, the need for conducting relevant
scientific Research is more significant than ever. As an important research destination,
polar areas have been seen as the last directly intact areas with a pristine condition,
which is highly valued for research purpose. However, the vulnerable local environment
is challenging by the increasing number of visitors. In order to continue investigating the
environmental issues and to maintain the wilderness environment, it is essential that
exploring ways to change the current research activities into a sustainably conducted
research approach so that contributing to global scientific research development and local,
sustainable development.
This project is based on a case study and research communities in Svalbard Archipelago,
offering a perspective of the understanding of sustainability in the specific context.
Regarding research activities, we conceive the specified sustainability “As research activities
contribute to the world knowledge are executed without compromising the environment
and therefore able to continue for a long time”. Based on this understanding, the paper also
suggested a possible way of tackling sustainability issues - environment footprints, with
a focus on interactions between research practice and environmental impact. A Material
Flow Analysis concerning research activities is conducted as a concrete visual tool to
explain the link and thereby raise awareness of sustainability relies on everyone every
day’s activities and equip knowledge of where has the potential to improve.
Moreover, practice theory was used to develop a more action-guiding strategy:a substantive
part of changing researchers practices to more sustainable ones, which in this paper
means a smaller environmental footprint. The core of this strategy is the strategic plan
providing an overview of improvement areas. It contributes to further guidance for how
to conduct Research in a sustainable manner, for example, sharing experience, research
data and research plan, applying renewable energy supply, and so on. Through developing
the strategic plan into action guide, thereby changing researchers routines, we aim at
contributing to Svalbard of being the leading symbol of Sustainably conducted Research
in the international research community
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages72
ID: 305325581