Donald Mearns, his wife Meeka, and dog Akuliq overlooking Pangnirtung Fjord. Photo: Donald Mearns
Global warming has been a top issue for much of Canada’s federal election campaign, which ends Tuesday when Canadians will pick a party to form a new government. First affected by changes in the environment are Canadians who live on the northern fringes of the country. Scientists say temperatures are rising much faster in the Arctic than elsewhere.
To gauge how the debate on the environment is playing in Canada’s Great North, Grist spoke by telephone with Donald Mearns in Pangnirtung, on Baffin Island, in the territory of Nunavut. A town of 1,350 people located 30 miles from the Arctic Circle, Pangnirtung is a cluster of wooden homes perched at the rocky union of treeless mountains, a river, and the dramatic Pangnirtung Fjord leading to Cumberland Sound.
Supplies for the town must be flown in or brought by barge in the summer. But much of the food comes from subsistence-hunting of seals and game, fishing, and gathering berries. The people of Pangnirtung have seen unusual spells of warm weather in recent years that bring swift chang... Read more