Inuit health in a changing climate


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Presentation given to Canadian Institutes of Health Research dinner in Iqaluit Tuesday May 12, 2010.

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Inuit health in a changing climate

  1. 1. Inuit health in a changing climate <ul><li>Dr. James D. Ford </li></ul><ul><li>Dept. of Geography, McGill University </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>Inuit of Nunavut know this first hand </li></ul><ul><li>Known for a long time </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Scientists have also detected change </li></ul>From Correll (2010)
  4. 4. <ul><li>Scientists have also detected change </li></ul>From Correll (2010)
  5. 5. Corell 2010
  6. 6. Ford et al., (2009)
  7. 7. Canadian Ice Service (2010)
  8. 8. IQALUIT
  9. 9. <ul><li>Climate link maybe direct or indirect </li></ul><ul><li>Direct </li></ul><ul><li>Climate dependent health outcomes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Food-borne / waterborne contamination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infectious diseases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Indirect </li></ul><ul><li>2 nd , 3 rd , 4 th order impacts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Traditional foods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Danger and injury </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Mental health </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>CC emerging research focus in health </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change a major threat to health </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lancet Commission (Costello et al 2009, p.1697) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The potential health effects of climate change are immense.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>What will the future look like? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Warmer: >5C warming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More rainfall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less ice, more open water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More unstable ice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could be implications for animals </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Mitigation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reducing / stabilizing GHGs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Adaptation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan for, prevent, and manage health impacts of climate change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Essential response </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Impacts unavoidable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Already occurring </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>McGill Vulnerability & Adaptation Group </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Partnership with communities and policy makers to identify adaptation needs and opportunities for adaptation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health research focuses on: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Food systems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dangers of hunting </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Aim: how will climate change affect Inuit food systems in Nunavut? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2008 – 2012 (SSHRC, Nasivvik, Health Canada) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preliminary findings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate change having impacts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People adapting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constraints: cost, time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low income hunting households </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hunter support, community hunters </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Store food knowledge, promotion </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Aim #1: Food security status of users of community food programs in Iqaluit, Arviat, Inuvik, Kuujjuaq </li></ul><ul><li>Aim #2: Climate change pathways </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2010-2013 (?) (ArcticNet, Nasivvik) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Profile Iqaluit work which began in February </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>What aspects of your everyday life affect what you eat and how much you eat? </li></ul>
  17. 17. “ It’s one of our favourite country foods. I feel better when I eat country food” “ I’m already getting hungry…” “ Makes me want to go hunting!”
  18. 18. “ Those of us who don’t have skidoo’s, we come here to get our country food…This is where we get the most.” “ I feel better when I eat country food. I like coming here because I can eat country food….I don’t like eating only store food”
  19. 19. “ If I could afford it I would get the country food at the store instead of these.” “ It’s worse in other communities…But it’s already too expensive compared to the South” “ The high cost of living here is crazy...”
  20. 20. Museum display <ul><li>Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum, Iqaluit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opens this week </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Other KT
  22. 22. <ul><li>Currently doing interviews with community food program users </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How often? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Importance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tukisigiarvik: 3500 drop-ins/yr </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food Bank: 1062 visits/yr </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Soup Kitchen: 9000 meals/yr </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Same approach, similar questions in all case studies </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Completed projects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arctic Bay, Igloolik (2002-2009: SSHRC, ArcticNet, Nasivvik) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Findings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More dangerous ice, boating and trail conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People are adapting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BUT constraints </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BUT emerging vulnerabilities a big concern </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Harvester support </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Land skills training </li></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 26. + Hazard maps
  25. 27. <ul><li>Climate is changing </li></ul><ul><li>Health implications </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptation can moderate impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Finding ways to support adaptation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Informed by IQ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informed by science </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What next? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IDRC’s IRIACC: Indigenous health and climate change </li></ul></ul>McGill research
  26. 28. To find out more: