Eranga’s work on adaptation of Indigenous fisheries to climate change in the Nunavummiut community of Pangnirtung was this month profiled by the WWF’s quarterly magazine – ‘The Circle’.
Worldwide, coastal Indigenous Peoples consume about 15 times as much seafood as non-Indigenous people. This includes the Arctic Inuit, who are coping with the environmental impacts of the climate crisis by increasingly turning to the ocean for food. The series of reports issued recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change turned an urgent spotlight on coastal aquatic systems, which will be threatened even if we succeed in limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5°C. The impacts of the climate crisis are already causing drastic changes in coastal resources— and directly affecting the people who rely on them. ADAPTING TO SURVIVE But some Inuit communities are refusing to give up. Instead, they are using their accumulated knowledge and long habit of continuous learning to help build resilience to the effects of climate change. This emphasis on climate resilience among Inuit fishing communities may broaden and deepen their ability to adapt to climate change. While completing my PhD, I was fortunate to do some field work in Pangnirtung, a beautiful coastal Inuit community on Baffin Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. This small, isolated community with a population of just over 1,400 is accessible only by aircraft for much of the year, and by boat during the summers. Travel in and out is extremely expensive. Residents must cope with other challenges as well, including housing shortages, high rates of food insecurity, and low rates of high school graduation. Many small Nunavut settlements face similar challenges, but in remote Pangnirtung, they are magnified