A new research program at the University of Victoria is taking a unique approach to tracking climate change.
Ocean Networks Canada is utilizing the local knowledge of three Nunavut communities, along with scientific monitoring, to explore the escalating impacts of climate change on Arctic life.
Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) recently announced that ONC will receive $247,000 to expand its successful community-engagement program in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, to the communities of Kugluktuk and Gjoa Haven.
“We have the intention with all of our projects of doing scientific work in ways that are meaningful to the communities we work with,” said Maia Hoeberechts, ONC project lead.
Understanding Fossil Fuel Impacts
Ice growth, melt rates, and ocean acidification are all affected by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, largely a result of burning fossil fuels.
The state of sea ice due to climate change is a global concern, and the growing possibility that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free by 2030 has accelerated the need for a better understanding of how the Arctic functions and responds to climate change.
ONC will be conducting interviews with youth, active hunters, Indigenous elders and non-Inuit community members in Kugluktuk and Gjoa Haven as part of the project, and replicating its two highly successful youth engagement programs launched in Cambridge Bay in 2014 and 2016.
Engaging Youth and Training Students
Other aspects of the project will train college students in the North in ONC instrumentation.
According to the CBC, in the long run, Polar’s goals include predicting the impacts of changing ice, permafrost, and snow, as well as examining the possibility of alternative and renewable energy sources in Canada’s North.