Three Lectures on the Arctic and Space at UBC

** Not a RASC Event **

The UBC International Canadian Studies Centre in collaboration with Green College is presenting three lectures in the 2019 McLean Lecture Series on topics involving the Arctic and Outer Space. The three lectures will take place on the following dates:

* Wednesday, February 13: “Our 3D Arctic
* Tuesday, March 5: “Space Force? Security and Cooperation in the Arctic and Space
* Tuesday, March 19: “Look up! Canada as an Arctic and Space Nation”

The lectures are free and will be held in the Green College Coach House on the UBC Point Grey campus from 7:30pm- 8:30pm. Receptions will follow each lecture.

Lecture 1: The Arctic cannot fully be understood without including Outer Space, from low Earth orbit to distant stars. It is time for a paradigm shift in our view of the Arctic, so that we see it anew in 3D: centred on the North Pole but extending, thousands of kilometres across the top of the planet, several kilometres down into the Arctic Ocean, 35,000 kilometres up to geostationary orbit, and billions of kilometres beyond that to other galaxies and stars. In the first of his McLean Lectures in Canadian Studies, Michael Byers explains our 3D Arctic in terms of its geographical, cultural, technological, political and legal connections to Outer Space, and points out the implications these have for the disciplines of international relations, international law and political geography.

Lecture 2: Donald Trump announced the creation of a Space Force last summer. The US President assumes that Space will become a “war fighting domain,” and there is at least some support for his assumption. For instance, in 2007, China tested its ability to destroy operational satellites by targeting a derelict satellite with a ground-based missile, creating more than 35,000 pieces of debris larger than one centimetre, all of which pose severe threats to other satellites and spacecraft. Yet since then all countries, including China, have refrained from testing anti-satellite weapons in ways that could create more debris. There is, in fact, a remarkable amount of cooperation in Space, with the International Space Station being just the most prominent example. There is also a great deal of cooperation in the Arctic, with Russia and Western states working closely together on search and rescue, fisheries management, and scientific research. This lecture explores the reasons for such cooperation, pointing out that the Arctic and Space are both remote regions with extreme environments, both suffer from “tragedies of the commons,” and both are militarized but not substantially weaponized.