Life on the edge of a warming world
1st June, 2006
The native Inuit people of the Arctic regions need no convincing of the effects of global warming. As Clare Kendall discovers, they are already suffering its impactIn recent years, while governments around the globe have been prevaricating over carbon emission policies and scientists arguing over the existence of global warming, the arctic has been melting. To the native Inuits of Northern Canada, the United States, Russia and Greenland, global warming is a reality, not a series of hypothetical scenarios. Since the millennium they have seen their landscape, their livelihood and their very cultural identity eroded at such an alarming rate that they now look set to become the first society to fall victim to climate change in the 21st century.
In the remote arctic village of Puvirnituq in Nunavik, Northern Quebec, just south of Baffin Island, they know a good deal more than you and I do about global warming. After thousands of years on the ice, they are closely allied to their environment and notice even small changes.
This April they experienced temperatures normal for June and a visiting party of Canadian officials meeting to discuss climate change were forced to decamp to a tent when their igloo collapsed due to the heat. The Inuit elders of Puvirnituq involved in its construction were anything but surprised as spring has been...
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