The Guardian

The Guardian 2 Dec 2019

Open Water: Greenlanders on the climate crisis


A glimpse into the lives of three Greenlanders: a hunter, a ship's captain and a fisherman, individuals whose very existence and heritage is intertwined with the Arctic Ocean. Like many who live in the polar north, their fortunes straddle the extremes of summer and winter. Faced with a drastically changing environment, these seafarers reflect on their past, their present and uncertain future with a complex mix of emotions

The human brain just isn't wired to grasp the looming threats of the climate crisis, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains. But there is hope if we change how we look at the problem.

CNN's Bill Weir looks at the parallels between coronavirus and the climate crisis.

#ClimateChange #CNN #Weir
With major cities under coronavirus lockdowns, ecosystems around the world have been healing. Smog-free air, cleaner waterways and drastic drops in carbon emissions have become a rallying point for many environmental activists who say that change is possible. Emissions of carbon dioxide - the main contributor to global warming - are predicted to drop a record 8% globally this year, according to the International Energy Agency.

But scientists say the clear skies and other improvements will be short-lived and have minimal impact on global warming as economies begin to re-open. And as many nations are looking to bounce back from economic turmoil, action on climate change may not be the highest priority for governments. In this episode of The Stream, we'll look at the potential impact of the pandemic on environmental policy and tackling the global climate emergency.

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India's capital is one of the world's most polluted cities, but its skies have turned blue, and many people can see the Himalayan mountains for the first time.
In Italy's Venice, canal water is so clear fish can be easily seen.
All this is an unexpected upside of the coronavirus crisis.
And it's proved global air quality can be dramatically improved - and fast.
The change has been created by lockdowns that have gounded flights and shut factories.
But environmentalists warn it could be temporary.
Climate talks have been delayed to next year because of the outbreak.
And it's feared countries could prioritise human and economic welfare before that of the environment.
Many are questioning whether the world will just go back to business as usual when it recovers from the pandemic.
So, are there lessons the pandemic can teach us about living with nature, moving forward?

Presenter: Richelle Carey

Francois Gemenne, Professor of environmental geopolitics and migration dynamics at The Paris Institute of Political Studies.
Meena Raman, Environmental Lawyer and Coordinator of Climate Change Program at the Third World Network.
Arunabha Ghosh, CEO of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water

… show captions ↓
Greenlanders … they have been always surviving.
It's very difficult to survive here.
I'm from the Arctic.
For me, it's not a new thing to meet the mountains, to meet the ice, to meet the wind.
I have been doing this since I was a child.
I'm Nick Nelson and I'm from Greenland, born and raised in
My father, Nils, he is a hunter.
I am an Eskimo.
I love the word Eskimo and I love being an Eskimo.
I do.
But if you ask my mother, she hates the word.
Eskimo means people who eat raw,
and we eat raw as well, so this is not wrong.
It's not negative.
For me, it's a brilliant word, like Inuit.
I have been always sailing.
My father is a fisherman.
I want to follow his steps.
I started at 10 years old in a boat and 17 years old, educated as captain.
Almost now, 30 years.
My name is captain Edward Samuelson.
I like wooden boats because I trust the wood.
And after those 30 years, I have been sailing.
I have seen how wooden boats react in the sea ice.
I trusted the wooden boat because of that.
Eskimos and Greenlanders, we hunt always.
Everybody here is a hunter, everybody has a gun, everybody has a boat.
This is part of our culture.
If we don't hunt, have to find potatoes.
Animals in the Arctic are our potatoes.
To hunt is to breathe.
You breathe with your culture.
My grandpa … they were hunters, they moved to a town because of their children.
And like my mother, she was also thinking: 'My children, they will get education.'
This means a lot.
So they can have a good life.
Lots of people need this apartments of flats.
Nobody owns lands here in Greenland.
In the past, Danish government owns everything here in Greenland.
Greenlanders, we are very good to adapt to changes.
Global warming is not good but we can adapt.
Here in Ilulissat, we are around 4,500 and lots of people move here.
It's difficult because the way to get a good life is difficult.
It hurts inside, mentally.
This road is not easy.
When I was a child here in Disko Bay, the sea got frozen.
The beginning of 2000, I moved to Denmark to study.
I began to hear global warming and suddenly they were also talking about 'Greenland is melting'.
I talked to my father, I talked to my family, friends …
They were telling me this is true, we don't get ice any more.
This is not only a discussion for Greenlanders, this has to be a discussion for all people.
The iceberg is huge, it's dangerous.
And when you have to sail near them, you see some cracks.
But, the start of 2000 … I will tell you two things.
It amazed me, this iceberg it begins to ... crumbling, like a gunshot.
It's preparing something to kill but when you hear like a thunder, it's already done.
But when you hear endless thunder you think it can be …
The climate change, in my … what I do, is a benefit for me.
20 years ago, we couldn't sail because we had winter ice.
We are now in a warm period.
My opinion is the ice age will come again.
But the icebergs are getting smaller, the glacier moving too fast
and it's killing up to 80m tons of ice per day.
So, it's huge amount of ice.
We say always we can't predict the future and we don't know how it will be in the future
with the weather and climate.
In the summer, we are warmer, in the winter we are warmer.
Only if you decrease, it means a lot in the Arctic.
But sometimes, you don't believe Greenlanders or Eskimos can do the modern things.
If you can survive in the past, you have to be more clever to survive
in that extreme environments.
If you have a kayak, it's made by wood
and you put seal skin on a kayak.
If I take the skin off the kayak,
I will sink, I will die.
This is our culture. If you take all this we do off, what do we have left?
If we don't have a culture and know how our history works, an Eskimo is worth nothing.
But the biggest resource in Greenland is a human being.
If we don't develop, Greenlanders, we never get independent. Never.

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