Justin Barnes, graduate student in the Masters of Sustainability Studies program at Trent University, wants to be a part of making a positive difference in the Arctic and Canada’s North.
“The Arctic and its peoples are faced with rapid changes and many challenges and opportunities,” says Mr. Barnes. “I hope to see myself contributing to the work being done in Canada’s North to sustainably adapt to climate change in the Arctic and around the world.”
It’s this passion for the North that led Mr. Barnes to take part in a week-long event dedicated to equipping graduate students from various backgrounds to one day take the lead on making that positive change in the Arctic a possibility.
The US-Canada Arctic Science Diplomacy and Leadership Workshop and Model Arctic Council was held at Dartmouth College in late June. The event welcomed leading experts from a variety of fields to teach young scientists and researchers who are interested in creating more effective policy for the Arctic. At the end of the event, participants had the unique opportunity to use their knowledge in a model Arctic Council, allowing them to negotiate as member states of the Council and attempt to create meaningful policy that integrates both scientific knowledge and diplomacy.
“Opportunities to take part in a model Arctic Council meeting with professionals who are actively involved in the Arctic Council and with other graduate students pursuing many different types of research in multiple fields are rare,” says Mr. Barnes, whose research looks at the integration of science and diplomacy and its impact on policies related to the sustainability of Canada’s coastal communities.
For the model Council, Mr. Barnes was given the task of representing Canada as its Sustainable Development Working Group Delegate and Minister. A big responsibility that he handled well, as he was officially recognized with the workshop’s award for Most Outstanding Performance during the Council.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” says Mr. Barnes about his award. “All the participants were very well prepared to negotiate their country’s position and that made the experience extremely interesting and challenging.”
Mr. Barnes says that the workshop was both affirming and encouraging. After working closely with the other students who took part in the workshop, he says that he is confident that positive change in the Arctic can be made in the future by people skilled to address climate change.
“Trent has equipped me with the tools to understand and integrate multiple perspectives into problem solving that I hope will make me make a positive environmental difference in Canada’s North and around the world,” says Mr. Barnes.