It may be taken as axiomatic that the northern lands and seas—Alaska, the Canadian north, Greenland, Svalbard, the ‘northern cap’ of Scandinavia, the Soviet north, and the seas adjoining these areas, including the Arctic Ocean which lies between them—will not escape the process of ‘development’, whatever that may be taken to mean. The pressure of population alone, considered globally, is certain to ensure that the resources of these areas, if not, at least initially, their living space, will be explored and exploited. The fact that each of the land areas is, as it happens, the sovereign territory of an industrialized country, will facilitate this process. The option, if it is thought to exist at all, of total preservation of the Arctic and sub-Arctic as some kind of world nature reserve may have attraction to some but must be seen to be wholly unrealistic. Development will occur. But it is sensible, as well as possible, to try to influence the type and course of that development. The objection may be made that such an exercise is pointless, because we cannot see far enough or clearly enough into the future, when new considerations, unguessed at now, may revolutionize our priorities. This ground for objection is of course true; but it is not a reason for giving no thought at all to the question, for all decisions about the future have to be taken on a basis of imperfect knowledge.