Climate, society, and natural hazards: Changing hazard exposure in two Nunavut communities

2008 February 1

Ford, J. (2008). Northern Review, 28, 51-71. Find PDF.

This article analyzes changing exposure of Inuit to environmental hazards in two Nunavut communities. One hundred and twelve interviews were conducted in Arctic Bay and Igloolik to identify the environmental hazards to which people are susceptible, to provide insights into how hazard exposure has changed over time, and to identify those factors that influence exposure to environmental risks. Analysis of secondary sources was used to add historical depth. The research indicates a complex pattern of changing hazard exposure over the past fifty years. New hazards have emerged, old ones have disappeared, and there have been changes to the magnitude and frequency of hazards that have always affected Inuit. Long-term trends affecting hazard exposure in the two communities include changes in the timing, location, and equipment used in harvesting, which must be situated in the context of changing community socio-cultural dynamics in the second half of the twentieth century. Changing exposure in recent years reflects the interaction of climate change with social, economic, political, and technological changes that have affected Inuit environment interactions.

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