Quotes from Baffin Island Inuit

inuit.gifInuit people from across Alaska and Canada delivered a petition to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Quotes from members of the communities through which the Global Warming 101 expedition has traveled are highlighted in the petition. These quotes give an intimate perspective on day-to-day realities of living in a warming climate:

“Even areas with little current are not freezing over and they have non-recurring polynias [areas of open water] all over the place now. This used to only occur at the areas where there were really strong currents… [T]hese were known areas of strong currents. These days, even in place where we have no known polynias, there are occurrences now happening all over the area. Near Pangnirtung we are starting to get polynias where the never used to be one.” Inuk elder from Pangnirtung, Baffin Island, Canada

“We used to stay in igloos most of the winters those days, these days we mostly stay in tents…. [During] winter the tents get cold due to not enough insulation.” Inuk elder from Pangnirtung, Baffin Island, Canada

“When the snow layer has not frozen during the evening, then it is difficult to travel. When the snow does not freeze ‘qiqsuqqaq’, then it is really soft and hard to travel on. It seems to be really soft now once it starts to melt.”
South Baffin Island elder

“That is the biggest worry, these caribou, and others that feed off the land. When there should be snow on the land, instead ice forms and the food is then not accessible.” Tsa Piubgituq, Clyde River, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada

“The food for the caribou is less abundant. Exact same things with rabbits. Rabbits are starting to come into the community more because they are finding more food that they have never had before. Different grasses, different plants. These sort of things are changing. New plants are growing up here in the north that the rabbits have never seen….Different plants are unique for our elders, but they are beginning to say that there is so much climate change that plants from down south are coming up here and plants from different communities are coming here. Different plants, almost like bushes, are growing. These are the changes the elders are seeing.”
Pitseolak Alainga, Iqaluit, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada

“The vegetation is different. Caribous are not getting fatter quicker than they used to be. Right now, when you go out here and get a caribou, they’re not fat anymore. It’s almost the end of August, but when you go back thirty years by this time they should be well-fed and well fat.” Ben Kovic, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada

“It used to be that [the rivers from the glaciers] were very clear….They looked so clear you wanted to drink from them and now they are foggy even in the late summer. They’re not as clear as they used to be.” James Qillaq, Clyde River, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada

Watt-Coultier, S., & The Inuit Circumpolar Confernece, et al. (2005) Petition to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights Seeking Relief from Violations Resulting from Global Warming….


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