Understanding and Assessing Impacts
Inuvialuit in Paulatuk have a long history of coping with, and adapting to, changing conditions in the Arctic. More recently, changes associated with climate change including rising temperatures, altered sea ice dynamics, and less predictable weather patterns have wide-ranging, complex, and adverse consequences for Inuvialuit livelihoods. Researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with 28 Inuvialuit living in Paulatuk over 9 weeks from January to March 2016 to identify what stressors were affecting them, how they were dealing with them, and what made it easier for them. The research was conducted by Eric Lede with the community of Paulatuk under supervision by Dr. Tristan Pearce and Dr. Chris Furgal. The results of the interviews showed a range of socio-economic stressors in the following areas: economy (e.g. high cost of living); institutional education (e.g. low attendance rate); housing (e.g. overcrowding); technology (e.g. increased access to gambling); and addictions (alcohol and drug abuse). There were also findings under biophysical stressors related to changes in wildlife (e.g. changes in migration routes); atmosphere (e.g. more rain); water (e.g. larger waves); land (e.g. melting permafrost); and ice (e.g. decreased ice thickness). The interviews also indicated a series of other findings, including: food sharing networks are threatened; responses to climate impacts are mostly behavioural; there are changes in the transmission of traditional ecological knowledge; organized recreation improves youth well-being; out-migration from Paulatuk is causing a brain-drain; and school both aids and constrains adaptation.