Climate Change Is a Daily Reality for Inuit

By Nickels, Scot | Alternatives Journal, November-December 2004 | Go to article overview

Climate Change Is a Daily Reality for Inuit


Nickels, Scot, Alternatives Journal


REPORTS on climate change in the popular press may seem abstract to many of us. Yes, the polar ice cap is shrinking and average temperatures continue to rise. But for Inuit, climate change is a day-to-day reality.

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Climate change workshops in many of Canada's 53 northern. Inuit communities have provided specific examples of the effects of climate change on Northern communities, and they are alarming. Too little snow to make an igloo during winter hunting. Mortal travel dangers due to thinning ice and newly open waters. The appearance of birds and insects never previously seen in the Arctic. Altered land and marine wildlife migratory patterns, the declining quality of traditional meats and pelts like caribou and seal, shifting permafrost levels--all have an effect on community and infrastructure.

The Arctic is the epicentre for the very tangible, life-altering realities of climate change that Inuit Canadians are already living. Although the situation is slowly changing, too frequently Inuit are left out of important scientific and policy initiatives. So far, relatively few researchers have asked Inuit how they are adapting and what assistive measures are required.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), a national organization representing the over 45,000 Inuit in Canada, persistently works to ensure that Inuit participate in community, regional, national and international climate change activities. Our goal is to ensure that research projects articulate Inuit knowledge and communicate the research priorities of Northerners.

Right now at a worldwide scientific symposium in Reykjavik, Iceland, the Arctic Council is releasing its Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). …

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