(Charles J. Hanley/AP via MSNBC, 8 September 2009) -- TUKTOYAKTUK, Northwest Territories - Caught between rising seas and land melting beneath their mukluk-shod feet, the villagers of Tuktoyaktuk are doing what anyone would do on this windy Arctic coastline. They're planning to build windmills. That's wind-power turbines, to be exact — a token first try at "getting rid of this fossil fuel we're using," said Mayor Merven Gruben. It's a token of irony, too: People who are little to blame, but feeling it most, are doing more to stop global warming than many of "you people in the south," as Gruben calls the rest of us who fill the skies with greenhouse gases. They're feeling climate change not only in this lonely corner of northwest Canada, but in a wide circle at the top of the world, stretching from Alaska through the Siberian tundra, into northern Scandinavia and Greenland, and on to Canada's eastern Arctic islands, a circle of more than 300,000 indigenous people, including Gruben and the 800 other Inuvialuit, or Inuit, of the village they know as "Tuk." Since 1970, temperatures have risen more 4.5 degrees F in much of the Arctic, much faster than the global average. People in Tuk say winters are less numbing, with briefer spells of -40 F temperatures. They sense it in other ways, too, small and large. "The mosquitoes got bigger," the mayor's aunt, Tootsie Lugt, 48, told a visitor to her children-filled house overlooking Tuk harbor.
Posted 8 September 2009; 10:14:19 PM. Permalink