Silak: Ice and Consciousness. The Arctic and Climate Change

Authors: Lori Lambert, PhD

Disciplines: Biology, Environmental Studies, Native American Studies

Themes: Activism, Climate Change, Cultural Preservation

Tribes: Inuit

Climate change is the number one threat to the 22,000 polar bears that remain in the world. Currently, polar bears are suffering from a loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic. Polar bears are dependent upon an Arctic sea ice environment for their continued existence. As sea ice is being reduced in the Arctic, the polar bears’ basis for survival is being threatened. Because the sea ice is melting earlier in the spring, polar bears are being forced to the land without building up sufficient fat reserves to survive until the next freeze up. By the end of the summer they are skinny bears and in places like the Hudson Bay in Canada their ability to successfully raise a litter is being jeopardized. Inuit people are also affected by warming climate. Their way of life and their culture is based on sea ice.