The History of Polar Environmental Governance

Alessandro Antonello, Justiina Dahl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Over the course of their histories, a range of polities and communities have reached into higher latitudes to control and benefit from polar spaces and resources, enrolling what they thought of as peripheral regions into global geopolitical, legal, and economic systems. In the process they have taken to the poles certain ideas of resource use, value, and humanity’s relationship with nature and the environment. With these ideas came practices that disrupted polar ecologies, eviscerated animal populations, polluted landscapes, and undermined Indigenous societies and cultures. From the mid-twentieth century, more extensive national and international frameworks of environmental governance have emerged, including through legislation, treaties, and other conservation practices, to attenuate human impacts and foster some level of ecological productivity and resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of the Polar Regions
EditorsAdrian Howkins, Peder Roberts
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge Univeristy Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781108555654
ISBN (Print)9781108429931
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Arctic history
  • Antarctic history
  • polar history
  • environmental governance
  • environmental diplomacy
  • Arctic
  • Antarctic
  • history
  • environment
  • governance
  • Antarctic Treaty
  • conservation
  • Cold War


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