There are many stories to be told about climate change in Nunavut, ranging from the latest science news, intriguing research developments and innovative study projects to personal and human interest pieces about the effects of climate change on the rich and unique cultures of the Canadian Arctic. The following are a few suggestions, but are by no means exhaustive:
The Nunavut Climate Change Centre: Informing and Engaging the People of Nunavut
The creation of the NC3 itself, part of the strategy set out in the Government of Nunavut's (GN) Upagiaqtavut: Setting the Course climate change framework document (available here as a pdf), is a story of innovation and outreach in a part of the world that is being critically affected by climate change. An invaluable resource for both researchers and Nunavummiut, NC3 is in itself a sign of the long and storied Inuit tradition of adaptation to their environment. See our Media Backgrounder for details.
Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: How Nunavummiut Are Experiencing Climate Change First-hand
Inuit Quajimajatuqangit ("IQ") is the phrase used to refer to the collective traditional knowledge developed by the Inuit inhabitants of Nunavut over millennia of existence in a striking but often unforgiving landscape.
An intimate understanding of the climate was – and remains – necessary in an environment where close readings of weather patterns often made the difference between life or death. Interviews with elders, hunters and community members have added much to scientific research on climate change. Inuit observations have provided useful information at different time scales and levels of detail that have significantly contributed to our understanding of climate change in Nunavut.
The NC3 has collected a wide-ranging repository of Inuit Quajimajatuqangit related to climate change. These observations can be found, categorized according to location and subject matter, in the Voices From the Land section of the website. It provides invaluable first-hand reportage on the effects of climate change in the north.
As well, the NC3 offers a direct way for Nunavummiut to continue to add to this collection of traditional knowledge through its Add To Your Community IQ project. Through Add To Your Community IQ, NC3 gives Nunavut's inhabitants the ability to add to the ever-growing store of rich and detailed insight into climate change and adaptation, as well as context to help understand how climate change will impact Inuit culture, communities, and individuals.
Involving the People of Nunavut Directly in Climate Change Projects
Along with offering a wide range of information and resources about climate change in Nunavut, NC3 seeks to engage Nunavummiut directly with the issues. To this end, the site offers multiple ways for the people of Nunavut to get involved, as well as access to the latest research. Those avenues for direct involvement include:
From 2006 to 2010, a community-based sea ice observation network was created for the Siku-Inuit-Hila (Sea Ice-People-Weather) project, an international, interdisciplinary project that investigated the relationship between humans and sea ice in the Arctic communities of Qaanaaq, Greenland, Barrow, Alaska, and Clyde River, Nunavut.
In response to interest from other communities and researchers, the National Snow and Ice Data Centre has made a Sea Ice Monitoring Handbook available to anyone who wants to establish a local sea ice monitoring program. The handbook contains detailed instructions for assembling the necessary equipment and using it to monitor sea ice and snow. It's a complete guide on how to set up a Sea-Ice Monitoring Program for any interested community.
This NC3 initiative encourages Nunavummiut to record their elders' wisdom and observations about climate change and submit IQ (Inuit Quajimajatuqangit) reports to the site, helping spread the word about climate change and adding to the store of traditional knowledge.
They can also submit photos that show the effects of climate change on their community and the effects climate change is having on it.
Adaptation: Building Resilience at the Community Level
The Inuit have long relied on innovation to continually adapt in a challenging and dynamic environment. Building resilience in Nunavut communities requires planning that links multiple sources of knowledge to action, one of the key motivations behind the NC3 itself. Using a community-driven, collaborative approach, communities across Nunavut are currently engaged in multiple climate change adaptation planning projects, as seen in the site's Research section. These projects bring together numerous stakeholders to equip Nunavummiut with the tools, resources and knowledge needed to adapt to uncertain and changing times.