In a Small Arctic Town, Food Is Hard to Come

It is easy to think that sea ice will only affect the ocean, but there are many energy exchanges between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Seabirds, for example, make a nest on an island, feed on water, and return to land, where their guano fertilizes plants. The tundra, as a small productive area, relies on energy inputs from the marine environment. This means that when the dynamics of sea ice change, not only sea food resources but also land resources change. And because people depend on the earth’s resources, whether by harvesting eggs or eating caribou, what happens to ice cubes also affects the human population. Everything is connected.

However, the specific climate effects of this system are difficult to predict without further study. “Right now it’s hard to predict based on all the complex relationships that have just been described,” he said.

One major species affected by climate change in the tundra is lemming. Lemmings are small rodents that survive, during the winter, under a snowpack, where it is warm enough for them to survive and reproduce. The snowpack, in addition to separating their food, also protected them from predators.

Climate change has damaged its dangerous balance. If the melting and freezing cycle changes, the snowpack relied on by lemmings becomes less predictable. In a sleet, water meets through the snow and freezes the plants underneath, making it impossible to reach the lemmings ’food supply. Many Arctic predators feed on or choose their location based on the abundance of lemming, and the same predators also eat birds and bird eggs. In the Igloolik, when there were many lemmings, Marie-Andrée observed that arctic fox and avian predators (such as the long-tailed jaeger, parasitic jaegers, gulls, crows, snowy owl, and other raptor species) ) much more. If the impact of climate change affects lemming, it will not directly affect other species in ways that are not yet fully understood.

Marie-Andrée is particularly strong on climate solutions that take into account the needs and interests of the different groups involved. Snow geese, which migrate to the Arctic from the United States and Canada to breed, have increased significantly over the past four decades due to the increase in the amount of agricultural land on which they feed during the winter and in line with their migration. passage. “They’ve grown to a level where it’s damaging Arctic ecosystems. When they come here to reproduce, they look for a lot of plants,” said Marie-Andrée. feeding other birds at a much higher level.

One approach to this problem is to implement snow harvesting programs-not only through a spring hunt in the south, but also by encouraging egg collection and harvesting. adults north of their breeding area.

“If we can support harvesting programs that are beneficial for conservation issues at the same time, I think that’s really good,” he said.

Sasquatch Perspectives

The majority of Canada’s population, two in three people, live within a hundred kilometers of the U.S. border. In Nunavut, a territory with a population of less than 40,000 people, anyone living south of the Arctic circle is considered a “south of the south.” I met one of the southerners, Hunter McClain, on the way to Montreal.

Hunter is from a small town in northern British Columbia, near the Hudson Bay Glacier. The glacier, which was once visible on the mountain, recedes to the point where it is almost invisible in summer and spring. “The people who live in the country are up to date, and we’ve noticed changes in wildlife,” he told me. “Wild animal life goes a little nuts.”

One year, the bears did not hibernate because they could not find enough food. “All the young bears in the winter run around town looking for food. You can see them have lost hair and they look very thin,” Hunter said. “I’ve never seen one really. skinny bear used to be, but when you see a skinny bear squirming and standing, you really know that’s Sasquatch. ”The bears on their back legs were like legendary monsters. Hunter was scared, and so was which “surprised the people living in that area who reject climate change.” For him, the connection to climate change is indisputable.

Retrieved from 1,001 Voices on Climate Change, by Devi Lockwood. Copyright © 2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. Also printed by permission of Tiller Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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