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James Thomson

James (Jimmy) Thomson is a Vancouver-based freelance journalist. His work has been published in National Geographic, The Globe and Mail, VICE, the Toronto Star, BCBusiness Magazine, The Tyee, Canadian Geographic, CTV, and CBC Radio, among others.

He has reported from eight countries – six of them in the Arctic – on topics ranging from climate change to war refugees to cannibal rat-infested ghost ships. He has gathered audio from a Coast Salish sweat lodge, photos of a Syrian prosthetics workshop, and video of crab fishing in the Norwegian Arctic. In the pursuit of a good story he has slept on converted Russian spy ships, Chinese farmers’ plank beds, and in a tent under the midnight sun. He played a minor role in finding John Franklin’s lost ships in the High Arctic.



Content by James Thomson

Since the Stockholm Convention came into effect in 2004, banning persistent organic pollutants, the concentration of these pollutants has declined by up to 90 percent.

Enzymes, vital proteins that can be used industrially, are a growing business. A new company believes the cold waters of the Barents Sea could hold a tremendous variety of specialized enzymes that could function industrially in new ways.

Sámi language-speaking voices that made waves on the radio now have their own broadcast on television. A new TV station in Inari has given Sámi people a platform to spread Sámi culture outside of their northern home.

Brown bears are emerging from their dens in the Pasvik Valley earlier this year than ever before. The bears in Pasvik have been shown to be genetically isolated from their Norwegian neighbours to the west but not the Russian bears to the east. The disconnect, says biologist Alexander Kopatz, is likely due to human influence.

The upcoming European Union elections are highlighting the gap between EU politics and high North affairs and it’s an issue that’s causing a bit of an identity crisis in northern Finland.

The BarentsObserver takes a closer look at the local crabbing industry - and even gets a tasty lunch out of it.

A creative youth house in Murmansk is facing an uphill battle as a lack of funding and growing governmental opposition threaten its future.

A proposed new amendment to Russia’s child protection law - which already bans “gay propaganda” - would also ban the distribution of “unpatriotic information” to children. Russian policy expert Julie Wilhelmsen says it fits with the government’s ongoing bid to win over Russian nationalists.

The Arctic town of Vardø is developing a new ecotourism industry thanks to the nearby island of Hornøya, which is covered in the nests of over 100 000 seabirds. Birders from around the world visit the island to get a glimpse of migratory species not seen anywhere else in Europe - but the industry didn’t spring up of its own accord.

A new study has demonstrated that the extent of meltwater ponds early in the year is a better predictor of minimum sea ice extent for that year than any other method. This could be big news for industries looking to reliably penetrate higher into the Arctic.