It’s time to draw borders on the Arctic Ocean

Why Russia wants to own the North Pole.

The second Vox Borders journey took me to Svalbard, an island owned by Norway in the Arctic Circle. It’s one of the northernmost inhabited places on Earth.

Seeing this view, I felt like I was on another planet.

My trip to Svalbard was kicked off by the Arctic’s rapidly melting ice. This region has lost more than a million square kilometers of sea ice in the past few decades. These satellite images show what that looks like:

The extent of melting Arctic ice.

While melting ice may prove disastrous for the Arctic’s ecology, it’s opening up new economic opportunities for the five Arctic nations (Denmark, Norway, Canada, Russia, and the US): new shipping routes, new access to natural resources, and a whole new ocean to explore.

I went to see the impact of this development on borders in the High North, and learn about how the Arctic nations are maneuvering to advance their interests.