When Lucy Gray thinks about global warming, her people (Inuit from Nunavik, Canada) intuitively understand that their world is changing long before they hear the word “climate change.” I know you were
Arctic indigenous peoples have always been among the first to experience the effects of climate change and pollution from fossil fuels and other anthropogenic sources, Gray said. was able to identify these climate changes in great detail.
Despite such understandings, many Western scientists admit that they have spent years working hand in hand with the indigenous peoples of the places they seek to study and protect. Something that cannot be measured scientifically.
But now, a new paper published in Science of the Total Environment examines research into endemic mercury poisoning in the Arctic and finds that, in fact, this research on the toxin is “impossible without the involvement of indigenous peoples.” is.”
Mercury accumulation in the Arctic comes from both atmospheric and ‘circumpolar’ rivers and is likely to increase as climate change continues to alter these rivers and release mercury from warming soils. There is. Mercury, a potent human neurotoxin, is a naturally occurring element that is concentrated in the environment by industrial processes such as coal burning and mining. It also accumulates in fish and wildlife at levels up to a million times higher than in the environment.
The paper, “Indigenous Contributions and Perspectives on Mercury Research in the Arctic,” describes more than 40 mercury projects conducted with or by indigenous peoples in the United States, Canada, Greenland, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. I am quoting.Where indigenous knowledge contributed to understanding [mercury] Pollution in the Arctic. “
The paper recommends the establishment of collaborative processes between scientists and indigenous peoples, citing “obvious community-based gaps.” [mercury] Studies in many Arctic countries. It “seeks sustainable funding for community-led monitoring and research programs. These activities “should be well coupled with polar/international initiatives,” the paper concludes. .
Magali Houde, Ph.D., one of the two lead authors of the paper, said Environment and Climate Change Canadian aquatic ecotoxicologists said about publication in scientific journals: said to
While there is still a long way to go for the scientific community to produce knowledge collaboratively with indigenous peoples, its publication and inclusion in the 2021 Mercury Report of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program signals a shifting mentality. She said it gives her hope that
The level of Indigenous peoples’ involvement in each project varies from region to region, depending on national jurisdictions, laws, political and economic interests. For example, in Nunavik and elsewhere in Canada, programs operate in collaboration with outside scientists, but their research needs to address community needs and concerns and use Inuit knowledge. found in the thesis. The United States does not have many resources and programs to facilitate these cooperations.
In Greenland, where the majority of the population is Inuit, indigenous peoples are not considered a separate community, while Sweden, Finland and Russia still have few programs to support community-based pollutant monitoring.
Eva M. Krümmel is another lead author and Ph.D. An environmental toxicologist at the Inuit Circumpolar Council in Ottawa explained that the success of these partnerships requires teamwork between federal agencies, territorial and state governments, government departments and indigenous partners. did.
Another key component of success is continued funding for scientists, including money they pay to the locals they work with, explained Kale Siquak, an Alaskan Iupiak. I did not participate in the article. Over the years, he said one of the key factors that have contributed to the success of projects between scientists and the community is the building of mutually beneficial long-term engagement. But most science systems aren’t built to allow this, he said, Sikuaq.
Sustain environmental journalism
ICN provides award-winning climate coverage free and ad-free. We count on donations from readers like you.
For example, in the United States, scientists rarely have enough money to conduct research for years. The way these funds are obtained is through grants for specific research that scientists have to constantly reapply for.
Even when scientists require that they reach out to the community as a prerequisite for grant approval, Sikuaq said the lack of consistency in funding and the lack of training to conduct community outreach are key factors. It has been created over the years, coupled with the cultural inexperience of the department’s researchers. A competitive system in which scientists write proposals from their perspective without the consent of the village.
He also said that doing Arctic research is not easy. It started because I understood
The best way to work together is to truly understand what the issues are and what the community needs. “Scientists doing it right are way over the money they’re getting,” he said. he said.
Another important consideration to successfully learning from each other, but equally important, is viewing indigenous knowledge as distinct from science, says Gray, an Inuit activist from Nunavik. says. She said there is science in indigenous knowledge. Because it builds on observations handed down from generation to generation and direct interaction with the environment. “It’s nothing less than [than science] Either way, we need that cooperation,” she said.
People are losing money by looking at the world only in a scientific way, she said. Instead, we empower each other by working together. “We live in the real world. There are many layers in the real world, and many things interact in the real world at the same time, which science sometimes ignores.” she said.
According to NOAA’s report, climate change “continues to fundamentally change” the Arctic region. So people like Krümmel are working to expand collaboration between indigenous peoples and scientists.
According to the United Nations, indigenous peoples make up 5% of the world’s population, but they care for 22% of the earth’s surface and help protect about 80% of its biodiversity.
Krümmel hopes that this kind of cooperation will become the new rule for avoiding the wrong solutions and policies to the problems facing these regions. Scientists need to be open to working with indigenous peoples, and indigenous peoples need to be interested in working with scientists.”