COP21: View from Yukon, Canada

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According to the Yukon State of the Environment report 2014 , Yukon produced 0.05 per cent of Canada's emissions. The transportation sector contributes the largest share of emissions in the territory. (iStock)
According to the Yukon State of the Environment report 2014 , Yukon produced 0.05 per cent of Canada’s emissions. The transportation sector contributes the largest share of emissions in the territory. (iStock)
In the run up to the United Nations climate change conference in Paris (November 30- December 11), Eye on the Arctic spoke to different leaders from across Canada’s North.

In this interview series we explore how climate change is affecting Canada’s northern regions and whether international conferences like COP21 can actually make a difference in the day-to-day lives of northern Peoples.

"In the Yukon, most First Nations still practise their traditional lifestyles," says Yukon Grand Chief Ruth Massie. "It's just harder to get out on the land to your different hunting grounds because of the late ice buildup and the early thaws." (Courtesy Council of Yukon First Nations)
“In the Yukon, most First Nations still practise their traditional lifestyles,” says Yukon Grand Chief Ruth Massie. “It’s just harder to get out on the land to your different hunting grounds because of the late ice buildup and the early thaws.” (Courtesy Council of Yukon First Nations)

First up, we focus on Yukon, Canada’s north-westernmost territory.

International studies, including ones like the 2014 Arctic Report Card update, find that the Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as other regions. For northern communities, this is having an impact on everything from infrastructure to changes in traditional hunting patterns.

Climate & culture

But something that doesn’t get alot of attention, is the social and cultural impacts these changes are having on the North’s indigenous communities.

“We’re finding that more of our people are not going out onto their lands and practising their lifestyles like hunting and trapping and fishing,” says Ruth Massie, the Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations. “And of course, that effects the younger generation because you don’t have the opportunity to teach them your traditional lifestyle first-hand.”

This is just one of the messages that Massie hopes to bring to the climate change conference, also known as COP21, when she travels to Paris with the Canadian delegation at the end of the month.

Feature Interview
To find out more, Eye on the Arctic spoke with Grand Chief Ruth Massie about climate change in Yukon and what’s at stake in Paris:

 

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Feature Interview -The politics of climate, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Climate change brings new insect arrivals to Finland, Yle News

Norway:  The new face of climate change?, Alaska Dispatch News

Sweden: Final round of UN climate talks before Paris, Radio Sweden

United States: Climate change leads snowshoe hares to Arctic Alaska, Alaska Dispatch News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic circumpolar news project. At Eye on the Arctic, Eilís has produced documentary and multimedia series about the issues facing aboriginal peoples in the circumpolar world. Her documentary Bridging the Divide was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards. In her weekly column on RCInet.ca, she focuses on the people and issues making a difference in northern Canada. Eilís began reporting on the North in 2001. Her work as a reporter in Canada and the United States, and as TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China" has taken her to some of the world’s coldest regions including the Tibetan mountains, Greenland, Arctic Russia, Yukon, Nunavut and Nunavik. Read Eilís Quinn's articles

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