Climate change is bad for Inuit health, research group says


McGill group says the Arctic needs better adaptation policies

Published on April 28, 2014 | Nunatsiaq Online
by David Murphy

Inuit are vulnerable to climate change, and it’s time for new policy to adapt, a group of researchers says in a new report

That’s the message from the Climate Change Adaptation Research Group, led by James Ford of McGill University, who released a paper April 24 about the need for better adaption strategies, especially in health, for Inuit.

Adaptation to climate change is “the biggest challenge for global public health this century,” the researchers cite, but few studies are done about how the Arctic should adapt.

The goal of their paper is to “initiate and inform debate on health adaptations for Inuit populations by outlining key considerations.”

They list examples health impacts that are linked to climate change.

Death or injury because of travelling on the land is one example.

Inuit are vulnerable because land skills are less likely to be passed down to youth, changing conditions make conditions difficult to predict, and some northerners can’t afford safety equipment like GPS devices or life jackets.

Another example: the link with mental trauma.

The researchers say land-based knowledge provides mental or emotional strength.

But weakened cultural activities and identity, erosion of land based skills and weakened mental health strategies make Inuit vulnerable to change.

Read the rest of the story here.