Arctic Emissaries Head to Washington


Three Arctic emissaries from the IPCC summit journeyed to Washington recently, to explain how climate change is making their lives more difficult. Sarah James, from the Gwich'in nation, explained how previously non-native species such as black bears, beavers and cottonwood trees have begun to encroach on their land. She explained that wolves have also begun to prey on domestic dogs outside their homes, as they cannot hunt on the ground previously covered by snow, "the wolf, it's hard for them to run after caribou or rabbit for food because they can't run fast on hard ground because it tears up their skin under their paws." Olav Mathis Eira, a Norwegian reindeer herder, explains that local reindeer populations are under threat, "they were infected with a parasite that usually dies during a cold winter, but since the winter was so warm, it survived and infected the reindeers and they found about 70 reindeers that had died of that infection." Megan Alvanna-Stimpfle, from Alaska, explains that the changing climate has caused some Inuit to fall through the ice in previously safe places. We should look to these cautionary examples, because arctic locations are where we will see the effects of climate change most quickly. The impact has begun to have severe consequences there, whereas temperate areas have so far escaped relatively unscathed. :: ENN

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