WWF, National Geographic link up to promote Arctic’s “Last Ice Area”
“To protect it for ice-dependent species and northern communities”
The World Wildlife Fund-Canada and the National Geographic Society have teamed up on a drive to protect the High Arctic.
Its goal: to draw global awareness to what the two organizations call one of the most important parts of the Arctic — the “Last Ice Area” — the area above Canada’s High Arctic Islands and northwest Greenland where climate scientists say summer sea ice is projected to last the longest.
Since satellite monitoring began in the late 1970s, Arctic summer sea ice extent has been shrinking at a rate of about 12 per cent per decade, according to a joint Aug. 20 news release.
“If this trend continues, the summer sea ice could disappear almost completely within a generation,” the news release said.
WWF-Canada underlined its support for research and work with Inuit and local and national governments to determine how best to manage this part of the Arctic.
“Highlighting the ‘Last Ice Area’ and the need to protect it for ice-dependent species and northern communities has been a top priority of our Arctic work for several years,” said WWF-Canada President and CEO David Miller. “We couldn’t have asked for a better partner to help steer the public eye northward to this important region.”
The National Geographic Pristine Seas project will work with WWF-Canada to bring attention to the threats facing the summer sea ice and document “how the Inuit culture is connected to the area and its extraordinary wildlife.”
“We came close to Arctic wildlife and filmed them like never before while also documenting the last traditional hunting by the Inuit,” said National Geographic’s Enric Sala about a recent trip to northern Baffin Island.
“But as the sea ice retreats, what we saw will likely change. We will explore these changes and ultimately how they will impact the local people and the critical environment upon which they rely.”
In 2013, the WWF hosted a two-day “Last Ice Area” workshop in Iqaluit to promote its “Last Ice Area” conservation plan for High Arctic region.
That came after a move in 2011 by Coca-Cola Canada, which committed $2 million over five years to WWF’s Last Ice Area plan, through its sales of white, polar-bear decorated Coke cans.