GN’s vision includes no more community clean-ups


Since the snow has melted, community clean-ups have been organized in many Nunavut communities. Individuals of all ages are pitching in to pick up garbage and to clean up the landscape, restoring our communities to their natural beauty.

The community cleanup held June 18 in Iqaluit was an example of working together to achieve great success.

The cleanup was organized in conjunction with the City of Iqaluit, the federal government, Nunavut Tourism and First Air to raise public awareness about the environment and the need to reduce unsightly litter in our communities.

More than 600 community members were involved and thousands of bags of garbage were collected.

I am happy to report that similar events have been or are being coordinated in all communities in all regions. These events are being led by conservation officers and hamlet representatives and are engaging a large number of community members.

Our population in Nunavut is rapidly growing, and expanding communities mean increased pressure on our local natural ecosystems.

At the same time, we are witnessing increased tourism interest in our unique and intriguing landscape. With this in mind, it is ever more important to be conscious of our impact on the environment.

I wish to commend everyone’s efforts with these community clean up projects, and consider this a starting place on which to build.

Now, I challenge Nunavummiut to do even better, so that we eventually eliminate the need for these initiatives. Showing respect for the land means not putting the trash there in the first place.

It means making responsible choices to prevent the buildup of trash in communities and taking pride in our landscape enough to keep it free of litter year round.

My department will soon be rolling out an anti-littering campaign to help get youth and all Nunavummiut on board and we look forward to the day when community clean ups are no longer needed.

During Environment Week, we challenged you to write to us with your personal perspective on what Avatittinnik Kamatsiarniq, or “environmental stewardship,” means to you.

We received a great number and diversity of responses, many of which I believe hold valuable insight for all Nunavummiut. Here are a couple of examples of the responses we received:

“It means respecting our land, respecting the animals of all kinds, sea and land. And teaching the next generation how to show this respect.”

“Part of Avatittinnik Kamatsiarniq is looking after your surroundings. Keeping the land and community clean for future use, so picking up your garbage and not leaving it on the land.”

Clearly, a common theme is to rely on the ancient values and wisdom of the past, in order to move forward for an environmentally sustainable future.

We all have a role to play in achieving this. With everyone doing their part, together — we can take the next step!

Simon Awa
Deputy Minister
Department of Environment

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