We had a meeting over in Inuvik on climate change, and somehow I got selected. I'd like to speak as an Inuit member as well as an aboriginal representing the Arctic.
The Nunavut youth who spoke were worried about food security, including the effect of brucellosis on caribou meat and the impact of ice presence on hunts for beluga, ring seals, and caribou. The taste of meat is changing, which indicates a change in nutrition. It is expensive to fly food to the north, and there is a growing inability to access local food.
You have to travel further for school, and families have to balance school with work. One family relocated from Cape Dorset to Fort Ross.
Plants are disappearing due to climate changes in ITEX domes. New invertebrates can be found in waters, and plants are coming early in the season.
There are amounts of multi-year ice. Some locations are free from multi-year ice, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Melting ice is limiting transportation, and unpredictable ice may break under travellers.
There is much more rain in Iqaluit, caribou migrations are different, and narwhales are becoming stranded.
Water has to be driven to houses and the sewage taken away, indicating a loss of access to these resources.
Nutritional parks have closed. The realities and challenges are different.
An arctic indigenous-based conference would be beneficial.
I'm speaking on behalf of Yukon now and the Northwest Territories. There are extreme changes in temperature. This has created an issue for food security as people need to travel further across land to get food--for example, in Old Crow, where there is no access.
New insects and birds are being introduced, like the spruce beetle at Haines Junction. There has been a problem with bears going into towns to escape forest fires, and there is increased siltation in fish spawning beds.
In Whitehorse the snow composition is wetter and heavier.
In Dawson, salmon populations are changing, with a decrease in their run and a change in appearance and taste, possibly indicating a change in their health.
Tourists need to be aware that climate change is happening.
Positive impacts have also resulted, such as an increase in the water table and the well-being of greenhouses. For hunters, bison populations are up, not the native chasing sheep. Additional research must be done that can be accessible to the general public and presented to the community. Study information must be available.
There needs to be an improvement in waste disposal, and action must take place in offices and houses.
Next is the Northwest Territories. There is a lot to be learned about change. Youth must be involved so they can inform friends and family.
Changes in populations have occurred, including a decrease in ducks and songbirds. Animals are migrating to untouched human communities.
There has been an increase in thunderstorms, and more insects have appeared.
Hunted meat is flakier and tastes different. Mammals are smaller, and deer and cougars are moving to the north, with muskox moving to the south.
Trees are changing earlier and are growing above the tree line.
Fish drying is no longer operational. There is a change in the ice breakup and freezing dynamics, which changes how communities prepare for both.
Climate change is leading to health implications, including increasing stomach cancer levels. A prelude to stomach cancer is being found in 70% to 80% of some communities. There have been changes in individual homes and at the community levels. We must raise awareness through youth networking, anti-idling campaigns, lobbying conferences, regulations, and policies.
These are the many things that we spoke about in the conference we had in Inuvik. The youth are trying to make a change and make our voice heard. Aboriginal people are being devastated and hit hard due to climate change.
We have many more.... We have storytelling that happens throughout the years, and within a 20-year span there have been changes. I myself personally have been touched by this. My family goes about 170 to 180 miles north of Talurjuaq to get our beluga. For the past 10 years it has been clear of ice. We were never able to make it through due to multi-year ice. Anyway, there are changes.
We need our voice heard.
If you have any more questions on this, don't hesitate to ask me.