Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Human face' of climate change: Arctic communities forced to adapt their work, diet and decision making

Date:
November 29, 2010
Source:
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Summary:
Five years of social science research in Canada's arctic has taught one University of Guelph geography professor a thing or two about climate change's "human face.' Scientists have studied how Arctic communities have tried to adapt to the rising temperatures caused by major shifts in global weather patterns.

Five years of social science research in Canada's arctic has taught one University of Guelph geography professor a thing or two about climate change's "human face."

Related Articles


Barry Smit is the Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change, and since 2005 he's studied how Arctic communities have tried to adapt to the rising temperatures caused by major shifts in global weather patterns.

The human dimension of climate change has long been understudied, says Smit, who is taking part this week in a panel discussion on the environment and economy at the first ever Canada Research Chairs conference in Toronto.

Over the course of two research projects - one with ArcticNet and another with the International Polar Year project - Smit has seen first-hand how Canada's Inuit have dealt with changing ice levels, wind speed, migration routes, and so on.

"It's already affecting the people who live there," says Smit about the impact of global warming.

"And they're having to figure out ways of adapting their livelihoods to face the changes caused by these changing conditions."

Some communities are seeing their dietary patterns evolve because the animals they've traditionally hunted have shifted their migratory patterns, says Smit. That shift has caused those communities to rely on grocery stores for their food - and since the groceries found in Canada's arctic are often no better than "what we in the south would generally characterize as junk food," that's led to teeth problems and higher rates of diabetes, says Smit.

Part of the goal of his research, says Smit, is to challenge the idea that physical and social environments are completely unrelated. That's certainly not true, he says, if you look at how many Inuit relate to the ice they live on.

"The ice is their highway. And one of the thing they've noticed is that their highway is collapsing in places its never collapsed before," he says.

Smit's work has involved partnerships not only with researchers from other Arctic countries but also stakeholders in the communities themselves. His team's research, he says, has been incorporated into the communities' day-to-day decision-making - in the setting of hunting quotas, for instance, or in the construction of buildings on the melting permafrost.

And he points out that the research isn't just a one-way exchange, one where his team bestows its wisdom upon the Arctic communities. Instead, the Inuit communities have helped refine his own research - by pointing out, for example, that it's not so much the warmer temperatures that create the most significant social problems, but the changing winds that move the ice to places it's never been before.

Smit has also been involved with similar research into the relationship between social and environmental outcomes in Chile and Ghana. He adds that he's working on a co-operative project with researchers and community members in the South Pacific and on Haida Gwaii off the coast of British Columbia to study the social impact of rising ocean levels.

All that work, he says, is concerned with bringing about a more "holistic analysis" of climate change.

"The human face of climate change isn't often recognized," he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. "'Human face' of climate change: Arctic communities forced to adapt their work, diet and decision making." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129102448.htm>.
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. (2010, November 29). 'Human face' of climate change: Arctic communities forced to adapt their work, diet and decision making. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129102448.htm
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. "'Human face' of climate change: Arctic communities forced to adapt their work, diet and decision making." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129102448.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins