Indigenous people are disproportionally affected by climate change for reasons such as their dependency on the environment, and their geographic locations. Seasons cannot be relied upon anymore. Even winters are much shorter and summer arrives earlier each year. This is forcing traditions to be adjusted. Winter is approximately six weeks shorter than previous winters, and the area’s sea ice coverage is roughly 1/3 smaller than it was ten years ago. The Arctic is one of the fastest-warming places in the world.

Indigenous peoples in the Arctic are facing severe consequences of climate change, which include malnutrition and loss of indigenous knowledge. More often, Inuit are relying on shop-bought foods as it is safer than fishing on ice that cannot be relied upon. Increasingly extreme weather has caused travel to become very dangerous, and in some cases, has cut off people from the community and hunting grounds.

The caribou herds are declining due to the changing climate, and the seals- which are used for food and clothes- are moving further away from the communities, following the sea ice. The rapid changes in the climate have also negatively impacted the Inuit mental health. They have reported increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and grief.

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Author: Ava Jayani