The potential impacts of climate change on the ISR are numerous, substantial and complexly interconnected. Since the early 2000s, local observers have documented that weather patterns in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region have becoming increasingly unpredictable, annual temperatures are increasing, freeze up/break up dates have shifted, multi-year ice is diminishing, species migration patterns are shifting and inland lakes are draining due to permafrost melting. These regional changes have been linked to increased risk when traveling on the tundra/ice, decreased ability to access country foods and an overall decreased species health.
To collect information on climate change observations, each of the six communities in ISR led the collection of information at various information-gathering sessions. Inuvialuit contributed their views on the current and potential impacts of climate change on their communities and region in workshops, interviews and other information-gathering sessions conducted in all six ISR communities by Youth Climate Change Coordinators during 2015-16, and at the ISR’s Regional Climate Change Strategy Meeting held March 21-24, 2016 in Inuvik.
These impacts were grouped into five categories – business and economy, culture and learning, health and well-being, subsistence hunting and fishing, and transportation and infrastructure. Furthermore, among the six ISR communities, there was a great deal of commonality regarding perceptions of climate-change threats and adaptation measures. For instance, most or all communities agree that climate change poses challenges to Inuvialuit subsistence-harvesting practices and has or will cause food insecurity in ISR communities.