Saturday, January 30, 2010

Inuit must adapt to climate change: study

Geoff Nixon on CTV News: James Ford has spent eight years researching the effects of climate change on the lifestyles of Inuit people living in the Far North. He's seen evidence that local temperatures are rising and there's a lot less sea ice floating around, for a much shorter time period each year. Along the Northern Foxe Basin, for example, the ice is taking as much as four weeks as long to freeze than it did 40 years ago, said Ford.

That means it is harder for Inuit people to hunt, fish, and eke out a livable existence, according to their traditional ways. "Hunting is not just a hobby to Inuit, it's a way of life," the McGill University professor explained in a recent telephone interview from his Montreal office. In places like Igloolik, Nunavut, where a week's worth of groceries typically cost more than $550 for a small family, there simply aren't a lot of other options.

There are few jobs, many of Canada's 50,000 Inuit live well below the poverty line and there is little opportunity to change the available means of subsistence. Ford likens the current circumstances for many Inuit to a community where the grocery store moves five kilometers away from your home every year, making it more and more difficult for you to get access to food, as time goes by.

And after enough time passes by, the road starts to crumble away and you're not even sure how to get there with the use of a car -- or in the case of the Inuit, possibly an ATV or a snowmobile. For Inuit people, "their supermarket is the land," Ford said. The problem is that the supermarket is moving out of reach…..

Northeast coast of Baffin Island north of Community of Clyde River, Nunavut, Canada, from above (1000 m): Tongue of a glacier, shot by Ansgar Walk, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license

No comments: