Understanding and Assessing Impacts
The Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) of the Northwest Territories, Canada is at the forefront of climate change: increasing temperatures, shifting seasonal patterns, reductions in summer sea ice, and weather variability threaten the natural environment as well as individual and community livelihood. Changes in the local environment are affecting subsistence harvesting, which people in these communities depend on, thus food security becomes an issue. Simultaneously, harvester safety is a concern because of risks associated with travel as well as limited search and rescue capabilities. At the community level, permafrost thaw threatens municipal infrastructure and buildings. Increased cruise ship tourism as a result of reductions in summer sea ice is another impact of climate change on the Ulukhaktok community.
Currently, adaptation to climate change is autonomous; individuals or households are adapting to threats such as food security and hazardous travel conditions by stockpiling food, purchasing satellite radios and phones, or utilizing different modes of transportation.
While this level of adaptation is important, broader policy initiatives are needed to deliver long-term solutions and strategies for these communities to cope with the likely effects of future climate change.