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Climate change is robbing Inuit of their food and culture, yet compensation is out of reach – National Observer

by ahnationtalk on January 22, 202439 Views

January 22nd 2024

In the rapidly warming Arctic, Inuit homes are falling into the ocean as coastlines quickly deteriorate. Sea ice melting is giving way to new powerful cyclones. And as the permafrost thaws, a staggering amount of methane is released, pushing the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere to even more dangerous levels.

As the Arctic suffers from these profound changes, fossil fuel companies are increasingly eyeing it for new oil and gas extraction, while the tourism industry sees fresh opportunities for business, too.

For Inuit, whose cultures are based on an intimate relationship with the environment, these physical changes give way to cultural transformation. In an interview with Canada’s National Observer, Inuit Circumpolar Council president Lisa Koperqualuk described the “enormous” change unfolding right now.

Near Pond Inlet in Nunavut, the Mary River mine transports iron ore on ships daily to bring the minerals south for processing, Koperqualuk said. The underwater noise from these ships is a “form of pollution” that impacts narwhal territory.

Already, she said, harvesters are noticing declining narwhal populations as many move to other areas to escape the noise. This is affecting how harvesters hunt the animal, forcing them to travel longer distances, and impacting how cultural harvesting knowledge is passed down through generations, Koperqualuk explained.

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