How would you survive in a -62C winter?
Seven layers of caribou hides with the fur facing inwards packed with snow on top. This is the technique that the northern youth climate change leaders learned was traditionally used by the Indigenous people of the region at the Long Ago Peoples Place near Haines Junction. Meta and Harold have noticed changes in their traditional land due to climate change. There are more insects, aphids killing aspen trees and no strawberries this year. Climate change is changing the traditional ways of life in the North.
Our first day of presentations was a day of making connections for me. A common experience in these types of Northern communities, it was an exercise in intersectionality, with many different perspectives and topics being presented. While I had explored all topics before, through my academic and career work and personal interest, I loved the opportunity to run through my mental library and pull out things that paired with concepts brought up today. Below my resource list with corresponding presentations from the great guests we had:
Raven Recycling: More emphasis needs to be placed on reducing and reusing, especially when it comes to plastic. Personally, I have been working to plan a build of a reprocessing machine for use at my place in Inuvik. Plans and blueprints are available, open-source, from Precious Plastics. I hope to build an extruder for melted plastic that can create filament for use in my 3D printer.
Scott Slocombe: Discussion of land management in the Kluane region is relevant to my work with the Gwich’in Land and Water Board and other co-management boards in the Mackenzie Valley. The Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board has a great overview document of Environmental Assessment, available in English, French, Gwich’in, Slavey, etc.
Discussing Food Security at the Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research:
During the meeting with Norma Kassi (Co-founder and Indigenous Collaborator), Katelyn Friendship (Co-Director), Molly Pratt (Communications and Research Coordinator), and Jody Butler Walker (Co-founder and Co-Director) covered the topic of food security in terms of traditional food that is available now, and future plans of tackling the issues of dwindling traditional food sources due to climate change and the effects that is has on migration routes, food sources for the animals and the changing temperatures. We also talked about alternative food sources in the case we do lose the traditional food sources, such as community gardens.
Today was the first day of the 2017 Young Leaders’ Summit on Northern Climate Change. Participants from Yellowknife, Hay River and Cambridge Bay met at the Yellowknife Airport then flew to Whitehorse. We arrived in Whitehorse around 3:30, where we met up with the participant from Inuvik. The first night has been pretty relaxed. We arrived at our campsites at Robert Service Campground. A group of participants went to buy groceries while the remainder set up camp. Throughout this period, the final participants from Whitehorse and Carcross arrived. For supper we cooked NWT Whitefish over the fire and ate fish burgers, salad, potato salad and cookies. For supper we were joined by members of BYTE, a Whitehorse-based youth empowerment group, as well as Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Minister John Streicker. Dinner was delicious. The downtime also gave us a chance to get to know one another and talk to John and Tracy about climate change in the territory. John told us a story of when he first noticed the true beauty of the North, incidentally he moved to the Yukon shortly after. His experience years ago is tied into a current climate hot topic, the diversion of glacier melt from one watershed to another due to recession. This has caused the drying of a portion of the Slims River. This was a topic that he and the participants were all keen to discuss. We plan to go see this dried river later in the week.
The rest of the night wasn’t very busy. We went around in a circle discussing what we would like to get out of the experience. After cleaning up, a group went for a walk on the Millennium Trail, which runs through our campground, while others painstakingly wrote this blog post. It was a great first day and everyone is looking forward to what we have planned for the rest of the trip.
We are excited to have Holly join us for the 2017 Young Leaders' Summit on Northern Climate Change!
Home Community: Inuvik
Current Position: Communications Specialist, Gwich’in Land and Water Board
Favorite Hobbies: Reading, sewing, and "any sport where I can wear a spandex onesie."
Why Holly decided to apply for the 2017 Young Leaders' Summit:
"As a relative newcomer to the North, the Summit will allow me to connect with others who share my aspirations for informed environmental decision-making. I admire the breadth of work that Ecology North does to educate and promote environmentally sustainable communities, and this a great opportunity for me to get involved with that work. I hope to contribute meaningfully to Inuvik’s discussions of climate change, waste, and water management, both as a resident, and in my work with the GLWB."
A fun fact about Holly:
"My cat, Michi, is from Urubamba, Peru, where I interned as a policy analyst. His name means “cat” in Quechua, which was suggested by his good-humored veterinarian."
See you in just over a week in Whitehorse!