Hi everyone, my name is Annette Salles, originally from Germany, and I might have taken a rather long and winding road to get to this interesting project at Queen’s University Belfast. Even though I pursued a Bachelor of Science in Geography at Louisiana State University, the anthropology electives I took were so fascinating (and numerous) that I ended up with a minor.
For me, geography has always exemplified the larger perspective, recognising the complexity of the earth system with its physical as well as its human components. The thesis research for my graduate degree in Climate and Environmental Studies at Augsburg University involved Arctic glacier mass loss and its atmospheric drivers. It brought me face to face with many climate change related topics at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, especially in the polar regions. Just at that time, the RV Polarstern left on its MOSAIC expedition to explore the Arctic winter in the most comprehensive manner ever accomplished.
Doing research in inaccessible, high latitude areas and understanding how humans deal with the accelerated changes to their lives, livelihoods and surroundings, truly fascinates me. It also makes my project at Queen’s all the more interesting – exploring the projected development of winter roads in Northern Canada under climate change along with the adaptation and resilience of First Nations communities to those changes. The dual approach emphasises the relevance of the research and honours the potential contribution of those most affected.
Adaptation and change are lifelong experiences, and I consider learning and teaching sports to be excellent training opportunities for reflection and human relationships. This may have been enhanced by my passion for Tang Soo Do, a traditional Korean martial art, and its philosophy for training the mind along with the body. But it would be nothing without lots of observations – and a good measure of curiosity. I probably have more than my share, which has coloured my winding road with many valuable experiences.