The Fight Against Climate Change in the North

In the circumpolar north, where temperatures are historically colder than in any other regions of the world, climate change’s effects have taken hold far more rapidly and dramatically than anywhere else. “Because Alaska is colder than most places, it’s melting faster than most places,” says Dune Lankard of the Native Conservancy. “The permafrost, the sea ice, the glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates.”

Melting glaciers and warming waters are having dire impacts on local economies and ways of life. The ecological health of these regions is also crucial to the overall climatic integrity of the entire planet. As we work to tackle climate change, we must pay close attention to the unique challenges faced by these northern regions and the vital work being done to protect and preserve them.

This week, we explore the effects of climate change in the north and Indigenous perspectives on how to change course while there’s still time.

Take a closer look at these essential bioregions (Subarctic Eurasia and Subarctic America) using OneEarth’s bioregion mapping tool.

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3 Indigenous Leaders Offer Solutions to Climate Change in the Arctic

Indigenous Peoples in the north have been feeling the disastrous effects of climate change for far longer than the rest of the planet’s population. According to NASA record sets, the Arctic is warming up to four times faster than the rest of the planet, disturbing terrestrial and marine ecosystems, destroying villages, and disrupting healthy ways of life. 

Innovative solutions to the climate crisis born from the ingenuity rooted in Native knowledge systems are emerging from the circumpolar north. In this conversation, leaders at the Native Conservancy, Indigenous Climate Action, and Native Movement share their strategies for addressing climate change in the policy, civil society, and economic sectors.

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Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: Report from the Arctic

We came a long ways, we’re going to go a long ways together. For our children that’s not born today yet, and for our elders that’s not here today with us.”

Sarah James, the revered Gwich’in Elder from Alaska, who has won many awards for her work to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling, including the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, depicts how her people are being severely impacted on the front lines of rapid climate change, and how they are responding in this presentation.

Watch here.

Bioneers 2023 Conference Speaker Highlight: Indigenous Forum

The Bioneers Indigenous Forum serves as a platform for Indigenous activists, scientists, elders, youth, culture-bearers and scholars to share their knowledge and frontline solutions in dialogue with a dynamic, multicultural audience. The Indigenous Forum recognizes the vital role that Indigenous Peoples play in protecting the Earth and its resources and seeks to support their efforts to maintain their traditional ways of life, cultures, and values. Join us at Bioneers 2023 to take part in the Indigenous Forum.

Learn more.

The Steep Cost of Relocating an Alaska Community

Unfortunately, we’re going to have to think about this type of work more and more in the coming years as we see the effects of climate change reach so many other communities.”

Melting permafrost, flooding rivers and shifting land have made Newtok, Alaska’s water and sewage systems unusable. The estimated cost to move the community nine miles up the Ninglick River is $120 million. The federal government has announced a $25 million grant and sees the move as a demonstration project for future rural Indigenous communities facing similar issues.

Read more.

Rare Earth Metals: New Discoveries, Same Concerns

The economy in Kiruna has relied on mining for more than a century, but new extraction activity will need to be balanced with other interests including preserving areas of natural beauty and safeguarding reindeer herding in the region by the Sami people, Mr. Hognelid said.

The transition to clean energy and electric vehicles is upon us. The only questions are the pace of the transition and whether society can avoid making the same mistakes developing the clean energy economy as we did in the dirty energy era. Where and how we extract, process and (hopefully recycle and reuse) the mineral resources necessary for the electric age remains an enormous challenge. The new discovery of Europe’s largest known deposit of coveted rare earth metals brings these challenges to the sub-arctic region.

Read more.

Threshold Podcast: Cold Comfort

Season two of Threshold’s podcast takes listeners on a journey to the Arctic. With the region warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, it’s crucial that we understand its significance and the impact that it has on all of us.

Through this circumpolar journey, Threshold delves into the lives of the four million people who call the Arctic home and hear about their experiences with the effects of climate change. By traveling on various modes of transportation and visiting all eight Arctic countries, Threshold provides a comprehensive look at what is happening in the far north.

Listen here.

Bioneers 2023 Scholarship Rates Now Available

As you know, Bioneers is committed to making our events accessible to all. Our full-price registration is significantly subsidized below the true cost of producing the event, and we are so grateful to be able to offer ample further scholarship options to ensure that the event is as inclusive as possible.

In order to access our scholarship rates, simply register for the conference, and follow the instructions for scholarship support (you’ll see our scholarships referred to as Student, Educator, Activist and Limited-Income Senior Rates). We ask that you sincerely consider what rate you register with, understanding that purchasing a ticket at a higher rate and/or donating to our scholarship campaign allows us to offer access to those who need the support.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in April.

Register now.

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