– Our last midnight sun before heading to BC –
Visiting the small northern town of Tuktoyaktuk along the coast of Canada’s Western Arctic has been an excellent experience!
Over the past few days, the people of Tuktoyaktuk have literally opened their homes to us. We have had many very interesting conversations about the way climate change is impacting the Arctic environment, the wildlife and the way of life in northern communities.
While Tuktoyaktuk may be a remote community, the impacts of global pollution and global warming are evident everywhere up here. Warming temperatures are causing animals to migrate north, displacing local species and altering the landscape. Rising sea levels and erosion has claimed a large section of the town and there is fear that people will soon have to move to higher ground in order to avoid coastal erosion.
Sea ice is in decline and the winters are getting shorter and warmer. Open water absorbs more sunlight which is causing the Arctic to warm twice as fast as the global average. One of the community’s elders told us that when he was younger winter temperatures would dip to -60, -70 whereas they are now lucky to hit -40 in the darkness of winter.
Permafrost is melting, causing buildings to shift, triggering landslides and releasing large amounts of methane; a very potent greenhouse gas.
There are scars of residential schools, the Canadian genocide and Canada’s brutal record of colonization. The Inuit have called this land home for thousands of years. Much more needs to be done in terms of reconciliation to make sure that there are equal opportunities for all people in this country rather than systemic racism and discrimination that are still very real and present.
We travelled to the top of the planet and experienced 24h sunlight for four days.The landscape, the animals and the scenery have been awesome. What a pleasant experience to have while recovering both physically and mentally from our visit to the tar sands.
What a trip it has been! Friday morning we are heading to BC to meet up with environmental activists while lending support to the grassroots anti-pipeline movement! More news to come!
Leader of the Green Party of Quebec