Toronto Globe and Mail: They're worlds apart, but the circumpolar North and more than 40 countries in the Pacific,
Elders and hunters of Athabaskan first nations in Yukon have reported invasions of new species of birds and fish, shorter seasons for ice roads, infestations of spruce bark beetles, concerns about water drawn from rivers fed by diminishing glaciers, the drying-up of the Old Crow Flats. Northern culture is threatened by climate change, a reality acknowledged by Western premiers meeting in Iqaluit this week.
It's a similar story in the tropics. Rising sea levels threaten the physical existence of some atolls and low-lying areas, and many Pacific islands have reported salt encroachment in their very limited freshwater resources. During a recent meeting in
An alliance between these regions is emerging. It's called Many Strong Voices — by working together, they hope to persuade the developed world and key developing countries (such as China, India, and Brazil) to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. They also aim to persuade the developed world to help vulnerable countries adapt to the unavoidable effects of climate change.
At heart, climate change is a foreign-policy issue, Britain's Tony Blair is reported to have said — whether Canada offers to see it this way and work with the emerging alliance between the Arctic and Small Island Developing States will reveal much about Canada's foreign-policy commitment to the parts of the world that suffer most from climate change.