Fishing skills

Globe Climate: Inuit scientific knowledge and skills fight climate change in the Far North

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When Johanna Busch felt ready to teach her students about climate change, she realized she was unprepared for the strong emotional reactions of the lesson. Learning about climate change has sent some students into cycles of anxiety, with some even requiring clinical support. They asked about the end of the world and if we were all doomed.

As with many scientific subjects, it is not enough for us to explain the processes and mechanisms of climate change to young people. Adults need to be prepared to emotionally support young people as they address these difficult topics. Here are some strategies to help you.

Now we’ll catch up with you on other news.

Let’s talk science and the Royal Society of Canada have teamed up to provide Globe and Mail readers with relevant coverage of the issues that affect us all – from education to the impact of cutting-edge scientific discoveries.

Noteworthy report this week:

  1. Ottawa fails to implement key climate policies, and carbon pricing is too hard on Indigenous groups, small businesses, too soft on industry: environment commissioner
  2. Resources: The Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland look to the future with a natural gas partnership
  3. Report: Reducing tar sands emissions by 40% will cost between $45 billion and $65 billion from 2024 to 2030
  4. Wildlife: Calgary is being asked to choose the city’s official bird – he pitted the magpie against the chickadee, but also stresses the need to protect them
  5. From the Narwal: On the outskirts of Edmonton, refineries are just part of a bigger air pollution puzzle

A deeper dive

The launch-meets-sensor approach is what Far North needs to fight climate change

Jenn Thornhill Verma is a freelance journalist and member of the Oxford Climate Journalism Network. For this week’s dig, she talks about an Inuit fisherman tackling climate change by combining traditional knowledge with scientific process.

The first time Joey Angnatok crossed the ice was a baby, bundled up in his mother’s arms, returning from the hospital. It was 1976 and the ice around Nain, the northernmost community on the Labrador coast, was as strong and reliable as a mother’s love.

But the first two decades of Angnatok’s life then coincided with the start of a warming trend. Since the mid-1990s (roughly when Angnatok first commanded its own fishing boat), the sea ice around Nain has been steadily weakening. Fast forward to last year, which was one of the weakest sea ice seasons on record – not just in Nain, but in the entire Northwest Atlantic Ocean. The weakening of the sea ice is accompanied by record temperatures in the atmosphere and at the bottom of the ocean as well. The past 10 to 15 years have produced the three lowest sea ice seasons, the warmest air temperatures and the warmest sea floor temperatures in this region.

These record years – what scientists call anomalies, outliers and extremes – are the telltale signs of global warming due to climate change.

Coping with this warming trend has become increasingly difficult but also considerably more urgent since sea ice is essential infrastructure like ice roads and hunting grounds in this region. An unpublished community survey from 2010 found that 75% of respondents (based on 200 Nain residents) said they could not predict ice conditions during the previous winter.

“Once upon a time, you could almost predict something was going to happen, but I’m finding it’s getting harder and harder trying to predict the weather and conditions,” says Angnatok, whose work typically combines knowledge Inuit traditions with a scientific process to assess and mitigate changing environmental conditions and their effects – whether on people or wildlife.

Like many coastal communities in a country with the longest coastline on earth (35% of which comprises the shores of Inuit Nunangat, the homeland of the Inuit), Nain depends on those, like Captain Joey Angnatok, who wear the boots in fishing boats in harbors as a vital part of the community. The Angnatok Ice Spear and Ice Catcher approach is exactly what the Far North needs to stay ahead of the effects of climate change – first, understanding what those effects are in real time.


Read Jenn’s full story how Angnatok combines Inuit knowledge with scientific expertise to fight climate change in the Far North.

Joey Angnatok holds ice cream to the sun in Nain.Handout

What else did you miss

Opinion and analysis

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Editorial Board: Here are the holes to fill in Canada’s climate policy

Green investment

This week, from ROB magazine:

The saying goes: the wind does not always blow in gusts and the sun does not always shine. That’s why investors are betting big on Hydrostor’s energy storage technology.

A Toronto inventor had modified a technique called advanced compressed air energy storage to store compressed air in deep underground caverns, and is now poised to play a key role in accelerating renewable energy adoption as the world is facing the climate crisis.

Read also : Pressure is mounting on companies to better disclose their ESG activities. Is a reporting standard finally on the horizon?

make waves

Each week, The Globe will profile a Canadian who is making a difference. This week, we’re highlighting the work of Alex Ince-Cushman and Daniel MacDonald who are thinking about ways to help with digital energy management.

Alex Ince-Cushman and Daniel MacDonaldHandout

I’m Alex Ince-Cushman, a science enthusiast with a Ph.D. in nuclear physics and co-founder of Branch Energy, a renewable energy company. And I’m Daniel MacDonald, architect, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Branch Energy.

As longtime friends of Toronto, our roots in this city have shaped our vision of sustainability and climate resilience. We’ve seen firsthand the impact that climate-friendly technologies and policies can have on a community. And that, combined with the realization that climate change can be fought with existing technology, one carbon footprint at a time, is why we founded Branch Energy.

Toronto is committed to achieving net zero by 2040, and we want to advocate for a net zero lifestyle everywhere. We believe in research-backed data-driven solutions, such as using AI technology in the home to help homeowners manage digital energy. As thought leaders in the field of renewable energy, we are honored to be part of the international conversation on climate resilience. This is a battle that will be won one owner at a time, and we are ready and willing to lead the charge.

– Alex and Daniel

Do you know a committed person? Someone who represents the real drivers of change in the country? Email us at to tell us about it.

Picture of the week

Bats rest on the lower branches of a banyan tree on a hot summer day in Ahmedabad on April 27, 2022.SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images

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