There are two types of warming trends happening in the Arctic. The first is a climatic one. The second has to do with relations between conservation organizations and the Inuit.
Global warming can be expected to have profound effects on the Arctic ecosystem. This, of course, raises immediate questions. How high could sea levels rise? What effect will it have on the sea ice, and therefore the polar bear and all the other species that depend on it? What changes in the ocean will occur which may effect everything else? Or will the Arctic get colder while the rest of the world gets warmer? How fast is it going to happen? Some scientists are beginning to think that we could see significant changes in the climate in a few decades.
If global warming continues, and most scientists seem to agree that it will, the first environmental effects may be felt in the Arctic. What those consequences will be is still anybody’s guess.
The other warming trend involves the Inuit of Nunavut and the World Wildlife Fund Canada.
It was not very long ago that relations between environmental/conservation/animal rights organizations and the Inuit were frosty, to say the least. There were good reasons for this sometimes hostile relationship. One obvious reason was the collapse of the seal-skin and fur markets, which had dire economic and social consequences in many of our communities. Everyone well remembers the emotional and graphic methods of a certain environmental organization that crippled the seal-skin economy. The Inuit became collateral damage in the war against the Newfoundland Seal Hunt.
It is therefore a little bit surprising to find that a very prominent international conservation organization has set up shop in the middle of the Arctic. The World Wildlife Fund Canada has opened an office in Nunavut’s capital. It is also a bit surprising to find that they have been quite busy in Nunavut for some time now, without attracting much attention. It appears they have been involved with several joint research projects with Inuit and their organizations.
They have had to overcome some suspicion, but seem to have satisfied their Inuit partners that they are not like that other organization that likes to ram ships and use semi-terrorist tactics.
Joanasie Akumalik of Iqaluit was recently appointed to the board of directors of WWF Canada at their annual general meeting in Toronto. We can expect a continued warming relations between WWF Canada and the Inuit.