October 21, 2010

Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change

New documentary recounts bizarre climate changes seen by Inuit elders

By Guy DixonImagine how this feels: The land and weather are turning erratic and dangerous. Warmer, unpredictable winds are coming from strange directions. Severe floods threaten to wash away towns. And native animals, the food supply, aren’t behaving as they used to, their bodies less capable in the changing climate.

Even stranger is the fact that the sun now appears to set many kilometres off its usual point on the horizon, and the stars are no longer where they should be. Is the Earth shifting on its axis, causing the very look of the sun and stars to change?

These are the drastic conditions Northern Canadians, whose lives depend from childhood on their knowledge of the most minute details of the Arctic land and skies, say they see all around them. These observations by Inuit elders are detailed in a groundbreaking new documentary, Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, by acclaimed Nunavut filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk (The Fast Runner, The Journals of Knud Rasmussen) and environmental scientist Ian Mauro.

The documentary--screening at Toronto’s imagineNATIVE film and media arts festival this weekend and streaming live at isuma.tv--is the first to ask Inuit elders to describe the severe environmental changes in the Arctic they are seeing and to do so in their own language. The tone of the film is intimate. The elders aren’t trying to cross a language barrier, or even speak to the Southern scientific community. They’re simply imparting their expert knowledge and wisdom--and the result will undoubtedly cause controversy.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Indigenous People Seek Climate Action, Natives Address Climate Change, and IsumaTV's "Countdown to Copenhagen."

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:


Film shows Inuit views on climate change