CCARG lab member Dylan Clark is starting the second year of his masters under the supervision of Dr. Ford. Dylan’s research focus is on unintentional injury and land safety in Nunavut. Unintentional injury disproportionately impacts Inuit populations, a contributing factor being safety on the land and resulting demands for search and rescue. Over the past ten years, search and rescue demands have been nearly doubled in Nunavut.
Funded in part by Rotary International, Dylan has been interviewing land users and search and rescue workers in Arviat, Whale Cove, and Iqaluit, asking what causes someone to be more at risk or safer on the land (to read the field report, click here). read more…
The CCARG in collaboration with Dr Lea Berrang-Ford, Dr Robbert Biesbroek, and TRAC3, just held a workshop in Montreal examining approaches to adaptation tracking at global to regional scales. Attended by >14 people, including representatives of IISD, IIED, ND-Gain, ADB, WRI, OURANOS, & Makerere University, a key focus of the meeting examined the opportunities and challenges of developing global scale adaptation indices. Keep an eye out for future projects to be launched through TRAC3 and activities in the run up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), where members of the TRAC3 team will be part of a side event on adaptation tracking on Dec 5th.
The food security of Inuit women in Arviat, Nunavut: the role of socio-economic factors and climate change
Beaumier, M., Ford, J.D. and Tagalik, S. (2015). Find PDF here. Polar Record. 51(5), 550-559.
Climate change has been identified as compromising food security in many case studies with Inuit communities in Canada. Largely neglected in the scholarship however, is research focusing on the gendered dimensions of Inuit food security in a changing climate. This paper reports on a community based participatory research project involving semi-structured interviews with Inuit women (n = 42), 10 focus groups (n = 40), key informant interviews (n = 8), and participant observation, to identify and characterise the determinants of food security among Inuit females in the community of Arviat, and examine the role played by climate and climate change. Results indicate that significant changes in climate being observed are not currently affecting female food security, with socio-economic-cultural factors primary determinants of food security. The nature of the traditional food system in Arviat based on harvesting land mammals reduces sensitivity to changing sea ice conditions which have been problematic in other Inuit communities. However, dependence on a limited number of animals for diet (primarily caribou, arctic char) increases sensitivity to potential future disruptions caused by climate change to these species and reduces response diversity as a coping mechanism.
Longtime CCARG member Graham McDowell is starting his PhD at the University of British Columbia, where he will be affiliated with the Institute for Resource, Environment, and Sustainability. His doctoral work aims provide a first-of-its-kind typology of environmental change impacts in high mountain regions, and therefrom principles for navigating environmental change is ways that are attentive to the specific socio-economic and biogeophysical conditions of high mountain regions. Building on his record of peer-reviewed publications; successful fieldwork in the Nepal Himalaya, Rocky Mountains, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic; and lead role in numerous international assessments of environmental change in cold regions; Graham hopes to emerge from his doctoral work at UBC as a leader in theorizing and developing sound responses to environmental change in high mountain regions. He will continue to collaborate with CCARG on various projects.
From the entire CCARG team, we wish Graham all the best in this new endeavor.
Learn more about Graham’s research by visiting his personal website at grahammcdowellresearch.com, or click here for a direct link.
Guo, Y., Berrang-Ford, L., Ford, J., Lardeau, MP., Edge, V., Patterson, K., the IHACC Research Team, and Harper, S. (2015). Access PDF here. International Journal of Circumpolar Health.
Background. Food insecurity is an ongoing problem in the Canadian Arctic. Although most studies have focused on smaller communities, little is known about food insecurity in larger centres.
Objectives. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of food insecurity during 2 different seasons in Iqaluit, the territorial capital of Nunavut, as well as identify associated risk factors.
Design. A modified United States Department of Agriculture Food Security Survey was applied to 532 randomly selected households in September 2012 and 523 in May 2013. Chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regression were used to examine potential associations between food security and 9 risk factors identified in the literature.
Results. In September 2012, 28.7% of surveyed households in Iqaluit were food insecure, a rate 3 times higher than the national average, but lower than smaller Inuit communities in Nunavut. Prevalence of food insecurity in September 2012 was not significantly different in May 2013 (27.2%). When aggregating results from Inuit households from both seasons (May and September), food insecurity was associated with poor quality housing and reliance on income support (p<0.01). Unemployment and younger age of the person in charge of food preparation were also significantly associated with food insecurity. In contrast to previous research among Arctic communities, gender and consumption of country food were not positively associated with food security. These results are consistent with research describing high food insecurity across the Canadian Arctic.
Conclusion. The factors associated with food insecurity in Iqaluit differed from those identified in smaller communities, suggesting that experiences with, and processes of, food insecurity may differ between small communities and larger commercial centres. These results suggest that country food consumption, traditional knowledge and sharing networks may play a less important role in larger Inuit communities.
Project description: Climate change has been described as the biggest threat to human health this century. The Canadian Arctic is witnessing the most significant warming globally, and numerous health implications have already been documented among Inuit communities. Focusing on adaptation offers a proactive approach for managing the health effects of climate change, and the recently initiated 5-year multi-institution IK-ADAPT project (CIHR Foundation Grant) is examining opportunities for health adaptation intervention at a community-level in the Canadian North, and evaluating how existing health policies and programs at various scales may affect vulnerability to future change. The work is focusing on responding to multiple risks posed by climate change, covering food & water security, mental health, personal safety, and new and emerging diseases, and will feed into ongoing policy and programming around community based primary health care, emergency response, cultural promotion and preservation, health planning, and monitoring and surveillance. read more…
I am seeking PhD and Masters students on a variety of projects I lead on the human dimensions of climate change, focusing on climate change vulnerability, resilience, and adaptation at community to global scales. read more…
Protective Factors For Mental Health And Well-Being In A Changing Climate: Perspectives From Inuit Youth In Nunatsiavut, Labrador
Petrasek MacDonald, J., Cunsolo-Willox, A., Ford, J.D., Shiwak, I., Wood, M., the IMHACC Team, and the Rigolet Inuit Community Government. (In Press). Access PDF here. Social Science & Medicine.
The Canadian Arctic is experiencing rapid changes in climatic conditions, with implications for Inuit communities widely documented. Youth have been identified as an at-risk population, with likely impacts on mental health and well-being. This study identifies and characterizes youth-specific protective factors that enhance well-being in light of a rapidly changing climate, and examines how climatic and environmental change challenges these. In-depth conversational interviews were conducted with youth aged 15-25 from the five communities of the Nunatsiavut region of Labrador, Canada: Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik, and Rigolet. Five key protective factors were identified as enhancing their mental health and well-being: being on the land; connecting to Inuit culture; strong communities; relationships with family and friends; and staying busy. Changing sea ice and weather conditions were widely reported to be compromising these protective factors by reducing access to the land, and increasing the danger of land-based activities. This study contributes to existing work on Northern climate change adaptation by identifying factors that enhance youth resilience and, if incorporated into adaptation strategies, may contribute to creating successful and effective adaptation responses.
Notes from the field: An update from the Evaluating Indigenous Vulnerability and Adaptation Research (EIVAR) project
Update by Tom Marcello.
Arriving for an interview in the Shawi community of Nuevo Progreso, Mya Sherman and I are greeted by the entire family. Catching the family while they are home during the day can sometimes require a few visits, as the whole family unit frequently goes together to work in their chakra (agricultural field), which can be more than an hour’s walk away. When we are lucky enough to find a family, we are immediately invited to sit down. A clay bowl called a mocahua is soon presented to each of us and we begin to consume the masato that lies inside. read more…
Ford, J.D. 2015. View PDF here. Regional Environmental Change. 15(6), 1035-1038.
Champalle, C., Ford, J.D., and Sherman, M. 2015. Access PDF here. Sustainability. 7:9268-9292.
Arctic regions are experiencing the most rapid climate change globally and adaptation has been identified as a priority across scales. Anticipatory planning to adapt to the impacts of climate change usually follows a number of steps: assess current and future vulnerability, identify potential adaptations, prioritize options, implement prioritized options, and monitor and evaluate implementation. While most of these steps are well documented, there has been limited examination of the process of adaptation prioritization in Arctic communities. In this paper, we build upon existing tools and propose a framework for prioritizing adaptation options and guiding decision-making for implementation in Arctic regions. Using four adaptation performance criteria (timescale, equity, sustainability and total costs) to evaluate options through a multi-criteria decision analysis coupled with a network centric approach, our Adaptation Prioritization Framework promotes a participatory approach for adaptation prioritization and planning. We illustrate application of the framework using a hypothetical example from the territory of Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic.
Harper, S.L., Edge, V.L., Ford, J., Cunsolo-Willox, A., Wood, M., IHACC Reseach Team, RICG and McEwen, S.A. 2015. Access PDF here. BMC Public Health. 15:605
Background: This exploratory study used participatory methods to identify, characterize, and rank climate-sensitive health priorities in Nunatsiavut, Labrador, Canada.
Methods: A mixed method study design was used and involved collecting both qualitative and quantitative data at regional, community, and individual levels. In-depth interviews with regional health representatives were conducted throughout Nunatsiavut (n = 11). In addition, three PhotoVoice workshops were held with Rigolet community members (n = 11), where participants took photos of areas, items, or concepts that expressed how climate change is impacting their health. The workshop groups shared their photographs, discussed the stories and messages behind them, and then grouped photos into re-occurring themes. Two community surveys were administered in Rigolet to capture data on observed climatic and environmental changes in the area, and perceived impacts on health, wellbeing, and lifestyles (n = 187).
Results: Climate-sensitive health pathways were described in terms of inter-relationships between environmental and social determinants of Inuit health. The climate-sensitive health priorities for the region included food security, water security, mental health and wellbeing, new hazards and safety concerns, and health services and delivery.
Conclusions: The results highlight several climate-sensitive health priorities that are specific to the Nunatsiavut region, and suggest approaching health research and adaptation planning from an EcoHealth perspective.
Keywords: Canada, Climate change, Health, Inuit, Nunatsiavut, EcoHealth
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…