The End Of The Arctic

The End Of The Arctic

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Language: English

Type: Human

Number of phrases: 145

Number of words: 2292

Number of symbols: 11191

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Growing up in Canada, we were always shown maps of our country, like this, where a huge portion of it is something known as the Arctic. Given that it makes up 40% of Canada's land mass and 2/3 of its coasts, we never actually learned that much about it in school and it's always been this sort of exotic location that we've wanted to go to, especially knowing that the ice has been steadily declining for years. So we decided to pack our bags, bring some camera gear and join a Greenpeace boat that was heading from St John's Newfoundland all the way to a community called Clyde River on Baffin Island to see the effects of climate change first hand. Scientists know that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as other parts of the world, causing land and sea ice to melt and currents to change. We were honestly so surprised at how little ice there was, which we could immediately see upon arrival. Climate change is a global phenomenon. It doesn't just happen in certain places. It affects everybody. The rising of the temperature caused by our burning of fossil fuels has caused the Arctic to melt. And this extreme rate of change has deeply affected the wild
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life and people's lives. These people are the Inuit, who are an indigenous people that have lived in North America for thousands of years. Inuit means people. And that's all we see ourselves as. People. When we refer to a different culture, let's say from France, there's lots of Inuit there. That's how we say it. That's how we use it. But also we use it to refer it to ourselves as people. What makes us Inuit is that we are hunter gatherers. We go out on the land, live out there for part of the year, hunting whales and seals and fishing--all this hunting lifestyle. That's what makes us Inuit, to me. In 1939, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that the Inuit should be under the jurisdiction of the federal government, imposing Canadian laws to strip them of their customs. During World War II, this land became even more important, strategically, and was occupied more heavily. This European influence had an incredibly negative impact on the Inuit way of life,
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with forced assimilation to remove their culture and further removal of their traditional structure, much like other indigenous populations across the world. In the 1950s, the Canadian government forced communities to settle permanently into cities or hamlets, like Clyde River, stripping the nomadic way of life away from the Inuit. When you walk around in my community, you see that the houses for people is nothing but bungalows, wooden houses. All our roads are gravel. And we are really lacking in infrastructure. I remember we would always go camping, like the whole family. We would be gone for weeks or even months if we had enough food. Pretty much we lived out on the land and survived from animals that my dad and my brother hunt. I wish we could go back to the way we used to live, because there was more family time. Everything just changed when there was no more camping for us. Given that mass agriculture isn't the easiest thing to produce in the North, it makes sense that any threat to the
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wildlife, which is a huge segment of their food source, would be problematic. We have a relationship with nature where we're not out to just kill anything. It's our food source. When we kill an animal, we treat it right. We butcher it right, and bring it into the community for food. In summertime, my favourite food is narwhal. We call it muktuk. We're gonna try narwhal for the first time. So, like this? I just have this? Oh, it's warm! It's been boiled? Mmmhm. Yeah, they just cooked it. Mmmm. It's soft? Pretty good. That one has even more flavour. That one's raw. What's it taste like? Like seafood. Kind of tastes like a chewy muscle or a clam. It's good. Which one do you like more? Depends on the day. *laughs* Today, 68% of Inuit don't have consistent access to healthy or nutritious
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food, giving them the highest rate of food insecurity of any indigenous group in the developed world. 35% of homes literally do not have enough food to eat. In Clyde River, we have one store called Northern store. It's a chain of stores that is all around Nunavut and other regions of Canada. Most aboriginal communities have a Northern store. And that's our only store. And because of that, they can mark it up as they like. The prices are sometimes a hundred, two hundred, even to four hundred percent higher than what we would buy in Ottawa. This pepper, is $15.99. I don't even know if it's per pound or per pepper, but regardless, either of those is really, seriously shocking. So all the yellow labels are things that are aired in and all the black labels are things that are shipped in. So like this little thing of veggies is $16. Wow. This can of coke right here is $6.15.
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And this is in Canada in a community that is probably obviously struggling to put food on the table, and it's messed up. And you know they're jacked up prices because the Coke is $6.15, but the Pepsi is $2.59, so obviously there's a preference for Coke. They're capable. Yeah, they're capable of bringing that price down. It's so interesting being in Canada. We're not in a different country. We didn't show our passport to come here. Our family, we're living on paycheck to paycheck and sometimes it's not enough for us to get food for my siblings and my parents, but if we don't have any Northern-bought food, we would still have narwhal or seal meat or fish, in our fridge and that saves us a lot. It keeps us from starving. As if these food challenges weren't already enough, Clyde River is about to face, perhaps, it's greatest battle and risk to their livelihood yet. This is seismic
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blasting. You see, the energy and oil companies use the technique of seismic blasting in the search for oil underwater, whereby high air pressure blasts are shot up underwater every ten seconds to survey the ocean floor below in hopes to find oil deposits. Basically, they're imaging with sound. But not before having an impact on the environment and wildlife first. Almost all marine animals use sound for all vital life functions. And that's because sound travels extremely efficiently under water. Five times the speed. And it just transmits over large areas very quickly. Seismic blasting is the loudest human-made sounds other than an explosion and 4,000 km away, seismics can form the pre-dominant part of the background noise. They'll be having much more trouble finding their prey, orienting themselves, navigating, staying in touch with eachother, staying in touch with their calves, reproducing, mating, stress impact that affect their immune system. They use sound for everything. Why
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would they not be impacted? How could they not be impacted? I can't even imagine. It's far harder for me to imagine they wouldn't be impacted than they would. I mean, the parsimonious explanation is, they're going to suffer something. And if the animals are affected, it becomes a matter of life and death for the Inuit people in Clyde River. But Clyde River is unique in that they have begun an unprecedented legal battle against the Canadian government and energy companies to protect their land, culture, wildlife, and way of life. So the seismic companies applies for a permit to conduct a five year project to blast Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait in search of oil and gas beneath the sea floor. They want to blast over a very large section of the Arctic Ocean in Canada. The project that was approved would allow them to blast the ocean for five years during the ice-free season, which is a pretty significant amount of the year and they'd be blasting their air canons every ten seconds,
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24 hours a day. This shouldn't have been a problem, given that indigenous peoples in Canada and other countries around the world have certain rights enshrined to the United Nations Declaration On The Rights of Indigenous Peoples, requiring proper consultation and consent to go forward with such projects. Clyde River never gave their consent , but the seismic blasting was given a go-ahead. The National Energy Board and a company came to Clyde River in what they call consultation. They brought a lot of paper work, their presentations. They were telling us, "this is what we're planning to do." We were asking them questions when they were done, you know, how presentations work. We were asking them things like, "what's going to happen to the halibut? How are the halibut (or the turbot) going to be affected by the canon blasts?" Narwhals, walrus--we thought that we would get an answer that explains what would happen. But, no, they didn't give us any answer like that. Here are some of the actual excerpts from the consultation process with the community. When asked, "Which animals will be affected?" they answered, "That's a very difficult question to answer
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because we're not the core experts." When asked, "What are the effects of seismic testing on marine mammals?" they said "How can I say this? I'm not an expert on this?" And when asked, "Which route will the seismic survey take?" they said, "We're still undecided." This move to avoid proper consultation and to find more oil is not only affecting the wildlife and ecosystem but the Arctic entirely and the Inuit way of life. So what has happened is that big oil companies, who refuse to recognize the fact that we need to leave what's in the group in the ground if we're going to survive, are using that opportunity to go in there and try to extract more of the stuff that melted the place in the first instance. They don't care what happens to their grandchildren. They don't care. They clearly don't care because the know the signs. They know what's going to happen. They know that conflict's going to escalate as water supplies decrease, as food security becomes more and more difficult. Conflict worldwide wil escalate. And what's going to happen then? What's going to happen
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when the low-lying territories like Bangladesh, even the Netherlands, get covered in water? Where are those people going to go? It's going to make the refugee crisis in Europe look like an away day. Which is why Clyde River's fight to protect their rights in the Arctic is so important and could set a major precedent for other indigenous communities all around the world. If they lose, seismic blasting could start as soon as summer 2017, and they could be blasting for five years after that. Ultimately threatening the primary food sources for the Inuit. These are people who are already living on a very fine line. And so therefore, seismic testing is absoulutely a question of their rights to their land and the safety of their land and the safety of their food, so any company has no right to mess with their food supply in that way. It is and should be made illegal and we sincerely hope that it will become illegal. If seismic blasting was to happen, we feel that as Inuit, it's going to take a big portion of our diet, our hunting culture away, it's going to be totally
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destroyed, because if you see hunting and there's nothing, that's devestating to me. If the whales migrate somewhere and we have nothing to hunt, I don't know what's going to happen. We're going to lose our lives. I fear that seismic blasting is going to completely change our lifestyle and the sea mammals. I really want to help stop it because all the animals are very important to us. And you can be a part of that change, just by signing the petition to put pressure on the Supreme Court and government of Canada to stand with Clyde River. Or come with us on November 30 to stand with Clyde River in Ottawa at the court hearing. If you can't make it, please sign the petition and share this video to help Clyde River in their fight to save the Arctic. Your audience, young people, have much more power than my generation, because you're online. I am absolutely certain that
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the only thing that changes anything of any importance is the mass movement of people. Now, at the moment online, those mass movements are happening all the time, so even if you just join Greenpeace, then sign the petitions, that's a huge act, because now you've got politicians who have to listen to young people. Who's voting for us? I mean, whether you believe in what they're doing or whether they can do anything or not, they have to listen to you and big companies have to listen to you. So, I think it's very important when you're young to know that you have power and to use it. The people of the Arctic are some of the smallest contributors to climate change but are feeling the biggest impact. It's not just about CO2, it's about people and it's about how unfair the situation is and how everyone of us can come together to help a community in need. Some of you may have seen Nanny McPhee. If you don't get involved, I'm going to turn up with my stick and my warts and my tooth and hurt you, k? Peace.

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