Janne Robberstad

Welcome to my site! I work as an eco-designer, an artist, as a teacher and as a researcher, and creating, or ARTING as I prefer, makes me happy! This is both a portfolio of things I´ve made and a blog meant to inspire.

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Svalbard – Barentsburg

By spotogspindel | April 5, 2014

A new day, a new adventure! I was invited along with a couple of friends to Barentsburg. It´s easiest to go there in winter by snow-scooter, it´s only about 2-3 hours from LongYearCity.

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Ready to take on the Arctic desert. Or space, for that matter!

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Barentsburg is a Russian city in Svalbard. Like LongYearCity, it´s based on coal-mining. About 380 people live here, most of them working in the mines, a few in the hotel and at the school, which has 35 pupils. The Russian-owned Arktikugol has been mining coal here since 1932.

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Although Svalbard is under Norwegian sovereignty, the unique Svalbard Treaty of 1920 allows citizens of signatory countries equal rights to exploit natural resources. Russia, along with Norway (via the Sveagruva mine and Mine 7), maintain mining operations on Svalbard as a result. Russia maintains a consulatein Barentsburg, the northernmost diplomatic mission of any kind in the world. Still Barentsburg has a Norwegian mail address and Norwegian phone numbers.

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Inside an abandoned house outside Barntsburg.

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The views today were absolutely stunning! The landscape is so pure, so untouched, so clean. My friend, Hans Gunnar, has lived here for 5 years. He says 60% of Svalbard is covered by glaciers. But in these past 5 years, he sees how the glaciers shrink every year. He is convinced beyond a doubt it is because of human-made global warming.

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Everything is pure here. Pure and frail. It feels totally surreal to be here, to see all this, and think of how this magnificent nature is dependent on what goes on on the other side of the world. Or rather all around the world. One feels so small here. In a good way. That there is something so much bigger than me, than us. We don´t own the world and it´s resources. We are merely the Earth´s custodians…

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