We are not just a small bit player’: National Inuit organization launches climate change strategy

“Our land underneath us is melting as we speak. It’s climate change and it’s not faring well for a lot of people up here.”

Inuit have largely been ‘excluded’ from climate change decisions, says Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president

The landscape of the Mackenzie Delta is a maze of small lakes and rivers. Thawing permafrost is now transforming it in ways no one has ever seen. Canada’s Inuit want a bigger role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. (David Michael Lamb/CBC)

On Friday in Inuvik, N.W.T., Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is releasing a national climate change strategy to help Inuit adapt and thrive while becoming climate change leaders, according to the organization.


Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland, accounts for 35 per cent of Canada’s landmass. (CBC)

“Inuit are often brought into the conversation as ‘canaries in a coal mine’ talking about the personal lived experience of the effects of climate change,” Natan Obed, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president, said in Inuvik.

The organization represents roughly 65,000 Inuit in Canada. Most live in 51 communities spread out over four regions, areas warming at a rate up to three times faster than the global average.

Far too often, Obed says, Inuit are “largely excluded” from developing climate change policy and research.

“We are not just a small bit player. We don’t want to sit by and listen to others talk about our fate. We want to be participating and active actors in creating solutions that will not only help Inuit Nunangat, but the globe.”

The strategy focuses on five priorities:

  • Knowledge and capacity building.
  • Health and well-being.
  • Food security.
  • Energy.
  • Infrastructure.

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