CCARG at the Our Common Future Under Climate Change Conference in Paris France, 7-10 July 2015

2015 June 29

Dr. James Ford and Anna Bunce will we presenting at the Our Common Futures Under Climate Change Conference. Organized under the umbrella of ICSU, Future Earth, UNESCO and major French research institutions, with the support of the French Government, the Conference will be held ahead of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, which is planned to take place in Paris later this year. Building on the results of IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5), the Conference will address key issues concerning climate change in the broader context of global change. Organized around daily themes, the event will focus on moving from present knowledge to future solutions.

For more information, see the list of our team’s planned activities read more…

Notes from the field: Jolène Labbé in Iqaluit, Nunavut

2015 June 23

Jolène out hiking on the tundra. Photo by Jolène Labbé.

Jolène Labbé (CCARG and TRAC3 research team member) recently returned from a two-week research trip to Iqaluit, Nunavut where she spoke with a variety of decision-makers, policy creators and project managers from nearly all Government of Nunavut Departments to help understand the role both climate change and adaptation play in policy, planning and decision-making within the territory. This is part of a larger joint CCARG/TRAC3 Evaluating adaptation to Climate Change in Nunavut, Canada research project working in partnership with the Climate Change Section of the Government of Nunavut that aims to describe the current state of adaptation to climate change in Nunavut and evaluate adaptation readiness at the federal, territorial, and community levels. The goal is to use a combination of baseline adaptation data and interviews with key stakeholders to provide a ‘big picture’ understanding of the current climate change adaptation landscape within Nunavut. It focuses on understanding factors such as institutional organization, decision-making, funding, stakeholder engagement, partnerships and communication, and Inuit Qaujimanituqangit among other things. Throughout the summer, Jolène will continue key stakeholder interviews with individuals from the federal government departments. read more…

Mya Sherman featured in National Geographic article on Amazonian biodiversity, health and livelihoods

2015 June 19

Mya Sherman, who conducted her M.A. in Geography from 2012-2014 with a Shipibo community as a component of IHACC research in Peru, and who had been working with the project since 2011, was interviewed a few weeks ago by National Geographic Explorer Barbara Fraser while in the country. The story, featuring Mya and other researchers, can be found here.

read more…

Notes from the field: Melanie Flynn in Arviat, Nunavut

2015 June 19

Research graduate trainee and TRAC3 team member, Melanie Flynn has just arrived back from spending four weeks in the community of Arviat, located on the west coast of Hudson Bay. Melanie was conducting semi-structured interviews in order to evaluate a Terrain Analysis project which has been ongoing in the community over that past four years. The Terrain project has been mapping ground movement in Arviat and six other Nunavut communities to determine future development suitability.

A view of Arviat from the sea ice. Photo by Melanie Flynn.

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Looking back at the IHACC Annual Meeting 2015, hosted by the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

2015 June 18

IHACC team at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

This year, the IHACC Annual Meetings were hosted by the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford (IHACC Primary Investigators Dr. Ford and Dr. Berrang-Ford’s alma mater) on May 27th to the 29th. The event was a great opportunity for team members form across regions to come together, be reflexive of what IHACC has achieved over the last four years, and work on a solid strategy for the project as it enters into its final year. Team members also had the opportunity to catch up, visit the many Colleges, gardens and meadows in and around the University, and have a taste of typical British foods. read more…

Notes from the field: Dylan Clark in Arviat, Nunavut

2015 June 16

Dylan Clark has spent the past month in Arviat, Nunavut helping establish an ice monitoring program and working on his masters research. This is the first summer Dylan has ventured north to do field work, and although it has been vastly different from his usual migration south to East Africa, he is feeling at home in Arviat.

Dylan hiking near ‘the point,’ where the Hudson Bay Company’s first post was during the Eskimo Point days.

As a CCARG student, Dylan is researching land safety across Nunavut. The project includes a territory-wide analysis of weather and ice affects on search and rescue events, and community based research in hamlets with the highest and lowest incidence rates. While in Arviat, Dylan has been interviewing search and rescue committee members, health officials, and hunters. He has also spent time getting to know community members by helping out with radio shows, volunteering with the Arviat Film Society, playing bingo, and tagging along with the fire department on a snow melting mission. He has also been taking every opportunity to go out on the land with hunters, including a seal hunting trip and three-day fishing trip. read more…

Inuit Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Subsistence Hunting and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Canadian Arctic

2015 June 9

Pearce, T., Ford, J., Cunsolo-Willox, A., and B. Smit. 2015. Find PDF here. Arctic. 68(2): 233-245.


This paper examines the role of Inuit traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in adaptation to climate change in the Canadian Arctic. It focuses on Inuit relationships with the Arctic environment, including hunting knowledge and land skills, and examines their roles in adaptation to biophysical changes that affect subsistence hunting. In several instances, TEK underpins competency in subsistence and adaptations to changing conditions, which includes flexibility with regard to seasonal cycles of hunting and resource use, hazard avoidance through detailed knowledge of the environment and understanding of ecosystem processes, and emergency preparedness, e.g., knowing what supplies to take when traveling and how to respond in emergency situations. Despite the documented importance of TEK in adaptation and in maintaining a level of competency in subsistence, the relationships between TEK and adaptation to climate change are not well defined in the scholarly literature. This paper aims to conceptualize the relationships between TEK and adaptation to climate change by drawing on case study research with Inuit in the Canadian Arctic. TEK is considered an element of adaptive capacity (or resilience) that is expressed as adaptation if TEK is drawn upon to adapt to changing conditions. This capacity depends on the development, accumulation, and transmission of TEK within and among generations.

Congratulations to IHACC Project students Sierra, Joanna and Michelle on their graduation!

2015 June 5

Sierra, McGill University Spring 2015 Convocation

On Monday June 1st, three IHACC students from McGill University obtained their degrees at the Spring 2015 Convocation Ceremony. We would like to congratulate Sierra Clark (B.A. Geography Honours, Supervisor: Dr. Lea Berrang-Ford, Research location: Uganda), Joanna Petrasek Macdonald (M.A. Geography, Supervisor: Dr. James Ford, Research location: Canadian Arctic), and Michelle Maillet (M.A. Geography, Supervisor: Dr. James Ford, Research location: Global) on their success.

Michelle and Joanna - Spring 2015 Convocation - Photo by Anna Bunce

Clark, S. (2015) The Burden and Lived Experience of Acute Gastrointestinal Illness in an Indigenous Batwa Population in Southwestern Uganda. Undergraduate Honours thesis. Department of Geography, McGill University.

Petrasek Macdonald, J. (2015) From the minds of youth: exploring Inuit youth resilience within a changing climate and applications for climate change adaptation in Nunatsiavut, Labrador, Canada. M.A. thesis. Department of Geography, McGill University.

Maillet, M. (2015) Is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change an effective (or appropriate) institution for supporting Indigenous peoples’ adaptation to climate change? M.A. thesis. Department of Geography, McGill University.

Anna Bunce at the Canadian Anthropological Society (CASCA) Conference

2015 May 19

Anna Bunce presented at the Canadian Anthropological Society (CASCA). Her talk, titled “Inuit Women’s Berry Picking: Lessons on Gender, Procurement, Well-­Being and the Environment” explored the relationships Inuit women have with berry picking across Canada’s north based on the findings of her own research along with that of Drs. Martha Dowsley (Lakehead University), and Scott Heyes (University of Canberra). Why has berry picking persisted among Inuit women? What role does berry picking play in the lives and identities of Inuit women? These questions were explored in the Re-Conception of Landscapes Session on May 13th.

Graham McDowell’s presentation at the Thinking Mountains conference

2015 May 12

Click on the image below for a PDF of Graham’s presentation titled “What we know, do not know, and need to know about climate change adaptation in high mountain regions”

CCARG at the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA)

2015 May 11

CCARG members will be well represented at the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference in Copenhagen. Please see below for our schedule of activities. In particular, TRAC3 affiliated team members are leading a session dedicated to adaptation tracking on Tuesday May 12th (see below).

The conference will offer a unique platform for researchers, policy makers, and businesses to share new research results, novel policy developments, and practical implementation experiences regarding climate change impacts and adaptation, as well as highlight opportunities for business innovations aimed at supporting the transition to low carbon societies. You can find information about the ECCA conference and sessions here.



  • Meeting Room 15, 14:00 – 16:30. Tracking Adaptation to Climate Change Programme, chaired by Dr. Robbert Biesbroek (Wageningen University, the Netherlands), Dr. James Ford (McGill University, Canada), Dr. Lea Berrang-Ford (McGill University, Canada).


  • Meeting Room 15, 14:00 – 14:20. Alexandra Lesnikowski: Applications in adaptation tracking: A longitudinal assessment of adaptation progress among high-income countries.
  • Meeting Room 15, 15:00 – 15:20. Malcolm Araos: Adaptation in large cities: a global assessment.

Poster Sessions

  • # 6.7.2, 16:30 – 19:00. Public Health Adaptation to Climate Change in Canadian Jurisdictions – Austin, Stephanie. Topic session: Adaptation policy and governance. Workshop: Tracking adaptation to climate change.


Poster Sessions

  • Room 10, # 3.8.3, 16:30 – 19:00. Planned adaptation in large cities: a global assessment – Araos, Malcolm. Topic session: Adaptation in cities. Workshop: Urban adaptation action – a multi-level governance issue.



  • Meeting Room 19, 8:50 – 9:10. Stephanie Austin: Public Health Adaptation to Climate Change in Canadian Jurisdictions.

Poster Sessions

  • Room 10, # 3.8.3, 16:30 – 19:00. Planned adaptation in large cities: a global assessment – Araos, Malcolm. Topic session: Adaptation in cities. Workshop: Urban adaptation action – a multi-level governance issue.

TRAC3 team presentation on Adaptation Tracking at the Ouranos Consortium

2015 April 17

TRAC3 team members (pictured) gave a presentation on Adaptation Tracking at the Ouranos Consortium this week. They covered topics including the 4Cs of adaptation tracking, the adaptation readiness framework, urban adaptation globally, public health adaptation in Canada, tracking adaptation in Nunavut, and the big challenges in adaptation tracking, followed by thought-provoking discussion with the Ouranos team.

In May the TRAC3 team will be chairing the “Tracking adaptation to climate change” session at the European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) conference in Copenhagen.

For up to date information on TRAC3 activities check out the CCARG website, TRAC3 website, and twitter accounts @ccadapt and @tradaptccc.

Vulnerability to the health effects of climate variability in rural southwestern Uganda

2015 April 15

Labbé, J., Ford, J.D., Berrang-Ford, L., Donnelly, B., Lwasa, S., Namanya, D.B., Twesigomwe, S., Harper, S.L., and the IHACC Research Team. 2015. Find PDF here. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change.


Vulnerability to the health impacts of climate change will be shaped by the existing burden of ill- health and is expected to be highest in poor and socio-economically marginalized populations. Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, is considered a highly vulnerable region. This paper analyses the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of rural Bakiga communities in southwestern Uganda to climate-sensitive health risks. The objectives were threefold: i) identify key climate-sensitive, community-identified health priorities; ii) describe and characterize determinants of sensitivity to these health priorities at the individual, community and regional levels; and iii) assess the adaptive capacity of Bakiga. Data collection employed a combination of individual and key informant interviews, biographies, future storylines, and Photovoice. Three key health risks were identified by the study communities (malaria, food insecurity, and gastrointestinal illnesses) – all affected by local climatic and environmental conditions, livelihoods, land use changes, and socio-economic conditions. Adaptation within these communities is dependent on their capacity to reduce sensitivities to identified health challenges among the potential of increasing exposures. Crop diversification, reducing deforestation, expanding of livestock rearing, transfer of traditional knowledge, and access to affordable health services are among potential strategies identified. We demonstrate significant existing vulnerabilities to present day climate-related health risks and highlight the importance of non-climatic processes and local conditions in creating sensitivity to health risks. Our place-based understanding is useful to inform interventions or policies aimed to reduce exposure and sensitivity and support adaptive capacity as the conditions these communities face are consistent with many other sub-Saharan African countries.

Anomalous climatic conditions during winter 2010–2011 and vulnerability of the traditional Inuit food system in Iqaluit, Nunavut

2015 April 15

Statham, S., Ford, J., Berrang-Ford, L., Lardeau, M-P., Gough, W., and Siewierski, R. (2015). Find PDF here. Polar Record, 51(3), 301-317


This study examines how climatic extremes during winter 2010–2011 affected the traditional food system in Iqaluit, Nunavut. This winter was anomalous throughout the Canadian Arctic, and manifested itself locally by warmer temperatures and decreased ice coverage. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with hunters (n = 25), a fixed question survey with public housing residents (n = 100), as well as analysis of remotely sensed sea-ice charts and temperature data from the Iqaluit weather station, this work identifies and characterises the extreme climatic conditions experienced, their subsequent effects on Iqaluit’s traditional food system, and coping strategies used for dealing with food-related stresses. The results show increased environmental stress on the traditional food system compared to previous years. Freeze up occurred 59 days later than the average for the 1982–2010 period, while mean annual temperatures were 4.9ºC higher than the climatological mean, which negatively impacted hunters’ harvests and residents’ food supplies. Coping strategies alleviated some stresses, but adaptability was limited for financially insecure households reliant on income support. The study shows that when challenging socioeconomic conditions, such as those associated with public housing, are coupled with significant environmental stress, such as experienced during that winter, the vulnerability of the traditional food system is exacerbated. We suggest that winter 2010–2011 can be used as an analogue for exploring future food system vulnerabilities, with climate models projecting similar conditions in the coming decades.

Joanna Petrasek MacDonald reflects on fieldwork in Greenland and Nunavut

2015 April 9

Joanna in Nuuk. Photo: Sara Statham.

Last month, Joanna Petrasek MacDonald (recent CCARG Masters student and current IK-ADAPT project co-ordinator) spent two weeks in Nuuk, Greenland followed by two weeks in Iqaluit, Nunavut speaking to decision makers, civil society organizations, Inuit organizations, and researchers to learn about the country food markets in Greenland and if such a structure would be feasible and desirable in Nunavut. This project is being done for the Nunavut Food Security Coalition. While the study is currently in the data analysis phase, a report and publication on this work is planned and Joanna will be presenting the findings to the Coalition in Iqaluit as well as at the International Congress of Circumpolar Health in Oulu, Finland this June, so stay tuned. In the meantime, Joanna provided us with some pictures and thoughts about her experience in these two Arctic capitals read more…