Accepted paper:

Hydrological transition in Greenland and the new concerns of ice

Author:

JM Diamanti (University of Amsterdam )

Paper short abstract:

This paper builds on recent research in the environmental and energy humanities to develop a concept of "hydrological transition" in postcolonial Greenland informed by both the elemental and the socio-historical, and offers the hydrological as a core concept of the post-oil condition.

Paper long abstract:

Melting ice fuels Greenland's postcolonial condition along two axes: on the one hand, the nation-state developed during the transition between 1979 (Home Rule) and 2009 (Self Rule) powered itself domestically and commercially by building five hydroelectric dams, powered entirely by water flowing from the ice sheet that covers eighty percent of its surface. Today, over sixty percent of the nation's energy is renewable, distributing the energy of its terminal landscape through five independent grids. On the other hand, Greenland's sovereignty coincides with global concerns for its ice. The Greenland ice sheet is expected to contribute upwards of one third of all water responsible for rising sea levels in the next century—a planetary inheritance of hydrocarbons accumulating amidst colonialism and industrialism's political ecology. Greenland's transition toward indigenous sovereignty is thus marked by a doubled sense of hydrological flow in late modernity, conditioning in turn its relationship to both energy and climate amidst the same flow of melting ice. This paper builds on recent research in the environmental and energy humanities to develop a concept of "hydrological transition" informed by both the elemental and the socio-historical, and offers the hydrological as a core concept of the post-oil condition.

panel P35
It's elemental: anthropologies of fundamental things