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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Greenland: The Sad

You're Dreaming
Image found at LiveTravelMountains
This article in Businessweek is just heartbreaking. It discusses the very real impact that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is having, right now, on the population of Greenland. (Excerpts below are from the article, and emphases are mine.)

The ice is coming later in the winter, coming thinner, and leaving earlier, wreaking havoc on traditional economics and nutrition.

Traditional economics? While oil exploration itself is only indirectly contributing to AGW - though an indictable culprit - I want to jump to the irony of it all. This makes me more angry than sad:
Geologists see good prospects for oil and gas off Greenland's shores, and for valuable mineral deposits onshore, from gold to zinc. The more open waters and more ice-free terrain make the work of finding them easier.

The 56,000 Greenlanders, 89 percent of them Inuit, sense the potential for gain, along with the reality of loss from the warming.

"On the positive side, I can point to emerging economic possibilities, potential income," Anthon Frederiksen, minister for domestic affairs, nature and environment, said in an interview in Nuuk, seat of this Danish island's self-rule government.
But this son of a hunter added, "Fishing and hunting is our mainstay at present, and we're very concerned about the negative effect this change will have on them."

Here on Disko, an Arctic island the size of Puerto Rico with barely 1,000 inhabitants, the dilemma is clear.

"If they find a lot of oil, it would be a big change and mean jobs for Greenlanders," said Lindenhann, 62. "But I'm afraid of pollution...

"We heard about what happened in the Gulf of Mexico..."
Pollution? The disconnect here upsets me greatly. Direct pollution from exploration accidents are horrific, to be sure, but the fact that a country that is witnessing perhaps the greatest devastation due to carbon release to even countenance unearthing more fossil fuels - regardless of the safety - is very disturbing.

Son-of-a-hunter, indeed.

Yes, and jobs. When you cripple the ability to hunt and gather food, well I guess jobs are a wonderful solution. Supermarket!


"It's very thin and you can't go on dogsled."
Retired hunter Jens Svendsen, 74, explained, "In the dark months the ice is too unstable for the sleds, and it's too dark to navigate by boat." Ice chunks can wreck their small outboards' propellers.

The dwindling supplies of traditional food hit older Inuit most.

"They prefer to eat Greenlandic food every day, and if they can't get it, they have to buy it at the store and it's expensive," said Svendsen's wife, Maaliannguaq, 70...

"We may see former hunters and fishermen and their families having poverty problems and nutrition problems," said researcher Kielsen Holm, whose study was conducted for the transnational Inuit Circumpolar Council and the Greenland Organization of Fishermen and Hunters.

"They're eating more pork and fast food, and there are more and more people with diabetes," she said.
Oh, and they're shooting the dogs now, too.
Dispirited hunters up and down the west Greenland coast, unable to feed winter game to their sled dogs, have been shooting them.
I think I can stop here. I'm "dispirited," too. Go read the article, if you have the stomach for it.

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