This is Section 17.2.3 of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Lead Authors: James J. McCarthy, Marybeth Long Martello; Contributing Authors: Robert Corell, Noelle Eckley Selin, Shari Fox, Grete Hovelsrud-Broda, Svein Disch Mathiesen, Colin Polsky, Henrik Selin, Nicholas J.C.Tyler; Corresponding Authors: Kirsti Strøm Bull, Inger Maria Gaup Eira, Nils Isak Eira, Siri Eriksen, Inger Hanssen-Bauer, Johan Klemet Kalstad, Christian Nellemann, Nils Oskal, Erik S. Reinert, Douglas Siegel-Causey, Paal Vegar Storeheier, Johan Mathis Turi
The Arctic has been inhabited by many diverse groups of people for several thousand years. Each group has its own distinct history, culture, language, and economic system. Despite the cultural and economic diversity found among arctic indigenous peoples, they have, through time, adapted to a number of similar conditions, such as a challenging and highly variable environment generally unsuited for most agriculture, severe climatic conditions, extended winter darkness, changes in wildlife populations, great expanses between settlements, and sparse populations (Chapter 3).The varied livelihoods of arctic indigenous peoples are examples of such adaptation. Reindeer herding in Finnmark and Russia, and fishing, sealing, and whaling in Greenland, Canada, Russia, and Alaska reflect the ability of arctic peoples to utilize and innovate with available resources, and to anticipate environmental and social changes in ways that enable people to take advantage of opportunities and guard against adverse effects.
Colonization has been another important source of change for arctic peoples. Prior to European contact, arctic indigenous peoples lived primarily in small settlements, and those dependent on terrestrial versus marine resources led nomadic lifestyles in order to follow the animals they relied upon for their livelihoods.
Historically, their cultures, identities, social organizations, and economies centered on these livelihoods, which represent successful adaptations to local environments. More recently, however, all arctic indigenous peoples, have, to greater or lesser extent, been colonized by outsiders interested in extracting and profiting from the Arctic’s resources. In addition to centuries of European and Asian settlement, arctic indigenous peoples have also encountered missionaries and traders and, more recently social, economic, environmental, and political impacts and changes brought about by globalization. In response, many indigenous peoples have developed mixed cash–subsistence economies.Yet, despite a number of challenges, these people continue to keep alive their traditional ways of life and in recent decades have acquired considerable authority in matters of governance. Arctic peoples have shown a remarkable resilience to extreme environmental conditions and profound societal change. At the same time, cultural change could reduce the adaptive capacity of arctic peoples (Chapter 3).
Adaptive responses to environmental changes are multidimensional. They include adjustments in hunting, herding, fishing, and gathering practices as well as alterations in emotional, cultural, and spiritual life. Arctic peoples change their hunting and herding grounds, become more selective about the quality of the fish they ingest, and build new partnerships between federal governments and indigenous peoples’ governments and organizations. Adaptation can involve changing personal relationships between people and the weather and new forms of language and communication developed in response to novel environmental phenomena. Changes in knowledge and uses of knowledge can also constitute forms of adaptation. Altered weather prediction techniques are an example (Chapter 3).
In this chapter the term “adaptation” is used broadly, but in some instances it requires refinement. In their discussion on the term “adaptive” Berkes and Jolly apply terminology long used in anthropology and the development literature, to distinguish between coping mechanisms and adaptive strategies. Coping responses are the ensemble of short-term responses to potential impacts that can be successfully applied season-to-season or year-to-year as needed to protect a resource, livelihood, etc. Some forms of coping are explicitly anticipatory and take the form of, for example, insurance schemes and emergency preparedness. Adaptive responses refer to the ways individuals, households, and communities change their productive activities and modify their rules and institutions to minimize risk to their resources and livelihoods. Depending on the frequency, duration, and suddenness in the onset of a stress, and on the resilience of a system, either coping or adaptive responses or both will come into play.With a progression of change in climatic conditions, coping mechanisms may at some point be overwhelmed, and by necessity supplanted by adaptive responses.
Governance, regulations, and subsistence (220.127.116.11)
A number of changes in governance and regulation are transforming arctic governments and their relationships with the rest of the world. Since the early 1970s, authority has devolved from central governments to local and regional governing bodies in places like Greenland, Alaska’s North Slope Borough, and northern Quebec’s Nunavik region. But while indigenous peoples in these communities have gained control over local affairs, external regulations have had considerable bearing on local ways of life. Seal harvest protests in Europe and the United States have affected seal hunting livelihoods in Greenland. Recently, proposals have been made to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to deny the aboriginal subsistence hunters in Alaska and Chukotka in Russia a quota for bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus). And Sámi reindeer herders must defend their practices against claims by others that they are allowing overgrazing.
For a long time, east–west tensions and core–periphery relationships (e.g., between Greenland and Copenhagen) kept arctic relations with the rest of the world connecting, for the most part, along north–south lines. Since the 1980s, however, arctic countries have become more open to pan-arctic cooperation with, for example, the thawing of the Cold War and the growing recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights. Cooperative alliances include the Arctic Council, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission.The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS), which provided a basis for the Arctic Council, was a pan-arctic initiative begun in 1991 when the eight arctic states signed the Declaration on the Protection of the Arctic Environment. A primary purpose of AEPS was a better understanding of environmental threats through a cooperative approach to these threats. There is also an increasing effort to link arctic initiatives with global regimes such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, ozone agreements, pollution-related agreements and initiatives, and the International Labour Organisation Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries.
Several factors are likely to characterize arctic international relations of the future. These include a greater role for non-state actors (especially indigenous peoples and environmental groups) in arctic affairs and a focus on sustainable development as a policy goal that means different things to different people. However, the future shape of environmental institutional arrangements (e.g., geographically broad with a narrow focus on an environmental program, or geographically limited, but encompassing a wide range of environmental issues) remains to be seen.
Settlements, population, and migration (18.104.22.168)
Over the past decades indigenous populations in Greenland, Finnmark, and elsewhere have tended to migrate to towns and larger settlements.These movements have generally resulted in mixed economies where individuals are more likely to engage in wage labor and supplement their cash incomes with the sale of subsistence products.While these mixed economies can perpetuate traditional systems of land use and allow the use of cash to support household hunting and fishing, the diets of people who migrate from smaller settlements to larger towns tend to contain significantly less marine mammal and fish.
Indigenous peoples throughout the Arctic have often coped with and adapted to change via migration. Certain types of migration, however, can pose problems. People in general have responded to changes in animal populations and movements by altering their own locations and movement patterns and by varying the types of species hunted. Migration to towns might also serve as an adaptive strategy if, for example, economic trends, regulations and/or the effects of climate change and pollution make hunting or fishing in settlements impractical or unproductive.The movement of Greenlanders to permanent towns and settlements over recent decades restricted the ability of hunters to follow animals on their seasonal migrations, introduced more Greenlanders to wage labor, and helped to catalyze the indigenous political movement that culminated in Home Rule. Alternatively, certain economic conditions, regulatory policies, and/or the stresses of urban life could conceivably prompt people to move from towns to settlements. This type of coping through mobility is evident in Greenland over the past thirty years as the size, composition, and distribution of Greenland’s population during this period has varied with changes in policies, economics, and educational and occupational opportunities.
Migration and settlement practices have also had implications for governance. Danish government policy encouraging a growth in town populations led many Greenlanders to concentrate in towns and major settlements in the 1960s. Migration from rural to more urban areas was part of Danish modernization programs of the 1950s and 1960s.These programs, for example, shut down a number of small settlements so that their inhabitants could work in fish-processing plants located in larger towns. Many Greenlanders were not in favor of these activities, believing that they were detrimental to Greenlandic culture and practices. Greenlandic resistance to forced migrations and other modernization initiatives eventually contributed to the establishment of Home Rule.
Access to new foods and technologies have accompanied changes in diet and livelihood practices, respectively, and mark important ways in which consumption patterns are part of changing arctic lifestyles.The diets of indigenous peoples are changing as they use smaller amounts of traditional foods, and rely more on commercially available products and imports.These changes have implications for culture and health as traditional foods are closely tied to indigenous identity and offer significant nutritional benefits. A decrease in traditional foods combined with an increase in western foods in the diet of indigenous peoples increases the rate of western diseases such as heart disease. Examples of technological change include snowmobile use which has accompanied changes in transportation, hunting, trapping and fishing, and recreation and tourism among the Sámi in Norway. In addition, imported modern hunting equipment has made whaling and marine mammal hunting activities, in general, safer and more efficient in Alaska, Greenland, and Canada.
Economies, markets, and trade (22.214.171.124)
Mixed economies based on wage labor and on subsistence activities are increasingly prevalent in arctic indigenous communities (Chapter 3) and broader trade and growing access to markets have innumerable implications for arctic indigenous peoples. Easier access to world markets continues to provide arctic inhabitants with increasingly better access to new material goods and new sources of income. At the same time, growing arcticbased businesses (e.g., tourism, see Chapter 12) can be sensitive to fluctuations in the distant economies to which they connect. An important question is whether, and if so how, this type of economic diversification affects resilience of local household and community economies.
A particular way in which technology is part of transformations in the Arctic is via the provision of new means of communication such as television, Internet, and telephones. The Anik satellites in Canada, for example, have been instrumental in exposing Inuit to outside cultures and in providing these peoples with a tool for asserting their own identity and culture.
Chapter 17: Climate Change in the Context of Multiple Stressors and Resilience
17.2. Conceptual approaches to vulnerability assessments
17.2.1. A framework for analyzing vulnerability
17.2.2. Focusing on interactive changes and stresses in the Arctic
17.2.3. Identifying coping and adaptation strategies
17.3. Methods and models for vulnerability analysis
17.4. Understanding and assessing vulnerabilities through case studies
17.4.1. Candidate vulnerability case studies
17.4.2. A more advanced vulnerability case study
17.5. Insights gained and implications for future vulnerability assessments
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