Inuit communities are being adversely affected by global warming, with climate change focused in the Arctic region quickly transforming their health, culture and economy, according to an Inuit political representative.
Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuit activist, writer, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, spoke at the Annual Conference of Canadian Association of Science Centers about the victims within her Indigenous community as a result of Arctic thaw.
She noted that thousands of years ago her people learned how to live in harmony with the cold conditions of the Northern Hemisphere, how to make tools, hunt and fish. Nowadays the temperature is warmer, the ice, which takes longer to form and quicker to melt, is thinner overall, permafrost is disappearing, and animals are changing their habits.
She emphasized that despite the community's relative isolation from the global market's rapid pace and modernity, the effects of climate change pose a real threat to Inuit aliments, culture and overall ways of life.
With average temperatures rising to almost 3.5 degrees Celsius since the start of the 20th century, scientific data has pinpointed the Arctic as the fastest warming place worldwide.
New models are even more alarming. They indicate that climate change is taking place at a rate 40 times faster than previously anticipated.
Despite this dim reality, CBC News reported on Watt-Cloutier's message of hope and perseverance. When asked what can be done about global climate change, she responded that her message to city dwellers is to rekindle their love for nature “because that will help us champion this issue together, with or without the politicians.”
She added, "It's that disconnect that urban settings have had between themselves, their food source, their connection to nature that we are even debating this issue of climate change in the first place."