Global Change, History and Planetary Futures:
Stories from Sweden’s far northern edge

On Tuesday 29 May Professor Sverker Sörlin gave a public lecture to a packed theatre at the Australian National University.

An an audio recording of the lecture is available below:

  • Professor Tom Griffiths’ introduction (4MB MP3)
  • Professor Sverker Sörlin’s lecture (59MB MP3)



Today there is general agreement that global change is ongoing, rapid and that it affects us all. The scientific knowledge underpinning this change is surprisingly recent. In this talk I locate global environmental change in the wider context of planetary narratives, past and future. In particular I will focus on narratives about histories and futures connected with the far northern edges of the world, the Arctic and the North Atlantic: Indigenous populations, geostrategic security, the Cold War, expectations of ice-free sea routes, Arctic cities, and downright disaster. Sweden, an alliance free state without a coastline to the Arctic, has been an observer in geopolitical terms, but its geographical position and strong research capabilities have made it an important contributing party in these discussions.