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Bits and Pieces 9: The Arctic Ice and the Inuit

“Pictures of the polar region from 1979 and 2003 clearly show that about 30% of the Arctic  ice has melted. This has greatly affected the way of life of the native Inuit who live and hunt on the Polar ice.  While some may adapt, their way of life and culture, which sustained them for centuries, will be destroyed.”

 

Although arguments still rage about whether the Arctic sea ice is disappearing, the disappearance is a fact of life for those who live near the Arctic Ocean.   The photos clearly show that the Arctic Sea ice is disappearing. A recent TulsaWorld article described how the disappearance of the Arctic sea ice has affected the lives of the native Inuit people in Greenland. Ice which used to be 2 meters thick in the winter, now grows only a few centimeters thick, far too thin to allow dogsleds to go to the nearest town, 50 miles away across the bay. They can no longer venture onto the ice to hunt for seals or walrus, a mainstay of their diet,  nor can they go out on the ice to fish. The Polar bears they sometimes hunt have no fat, as the bears cannot swim to the ice packs to hunt, and they sometimes prowl the villages looking for food.

Drilling for oil has picked up in the area as the ices disappears, but so far little oil has been found. Exploration continues, and if oil is eventually found, it carries the possibility of  economic development. But it also carries  the possibility that an oil spill, almost impossible to clean up in the icy  environment, would destroy much of the ocean life the natives now depend on for food. The sad thing is that they are being forced to change a way of life that sustained them for centuries. While some may adapt, their way of life and culture will be destroyed, and many will likely end up among the poor and unemployed.

(c) 2011 J.C. Moore

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  1. Pabitra Mukhopadhyay Says:

    Dear Dr. Moore,

    It is a truth that the environmental decline hurts at places where human society is most vulnerable. The cause of such vulnerability may be poverty, backwardness or ignorance. Whatever be the cause, this is one truth which is very inconvenient.

    We have already seen the first of environmental refugees in Alaska and in the Indian Subcontinent the coastal communities are threatened as well.

    We are looking at the face of a threat of such global proportions that sometimes the country specific measures to tackle it seems inadequate. We are connected in adversities if not in prosperity.

    I hope your brief article here is read by the largest of audience.

  2. admin Says:

    Thank you. I certainly apprecite your articles on http://chimalaya.org/ and http://pabitraspeaks.com/ that describe the effect of global warming on the lives of people in the Himalayas and Bengali. I recently read of serious flooding that occurred in Bengali, which was possibly made worse by global warming. I hope you will write an article about that.

  3. Big Oil’s Global Power Grab. Devastating Environmental and Social … | Alaska News Feed Says:

    […] tellurian warming and a frigid icecap meltdown, 30 percent of a Arctic sea ice has melted divided from 1979 to 2003. This has usually enticed oil companies to lust for a Arctic drilling […]

  4. Big Oil’s Global Power Grab. Devastating Environmental and Social Consequences |  SHOAH Says:

    […] global warming and the polar icecap meltdown, 30 percent of the Arctic sea ice has melte daway from 1979 to 2003. This has only enticed oil companies to lust for the Arctic drilling go-ahead […]

  5. Big Oil’s Global Power Grab. Devastating Environmental and Social Consequences | 247newsworld Says:

    […] global warming and the polar icecap meltdown, 30 percent of the Arctic sea ice has melted away from 1979 to 2003. This has only enticed oil companies to lust for the Arctic drilling […]

  6. J.C. Moore Says:

    People who live from the land are aware of the changes that people in cities do not see.
    From: Palani Mohan , Hunting with Eagles: In the Realm of the Mongolian Kazakhs , Merrell Publishers

    But Orazkhan, who has spent his life here, fears the winters have grown less harsh in recent years, causing many eagles to migrate elsewhere. “He talks about how the winters used to be much longer; the clouds used to be much darker and more fierce,” Mohan says. “The salt lakes that surround him used to stay frozen for many more months than they do now…It really is quite sobering when you’re sitting there in the middle of nowhere, talking to a 94-year-old man who has never heard of the term global warming, and he’s talking about something drastic happening there.”

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