Shape Up Or Ship Out: A Northern Perspective On Global Warming

Xavier Kataquapit, columnist and author

Xavier Kataquapit is originally from Attawapiskat, Ontario on the James Bay coast. In his popular newspaper column, Under the Northern Sky, he writes about his experiences as a First Nation Cree person. In April he wrote this column, Shape Up Or Ship Out, about how global warming is already affecting the north. Here is an excerpt; to read the whole article, go to Wawatay News.

Everywhere I travel these days, I feel the effects of global warming. Weather patterns are changing, ice caps are melting, glaciers are receding and it is all becoming very obvious.

I first started hearing about a change in climate from some of the Elders from up the James Bay coast about 20 years ago. More recently, I have learned through news from the worldwide scientific community that a phenomenon such as global warming is upon us.

Although there is a debate happening with opposition to this concept being fuelled by big corporations, most reasonable people have accepted that global warming is the result of human-caused pollution.

There are so many ramifications of global warming.

Changes in weather and temperatures, even though they don’t seem critical, can have great effect on wildlife. This means that my people the Cree and the Aboriginal people of northern Canada will be facing changes in our traditions and culture as it relates to our relationship to the land and animals.

Already, we see the polar bear populations being affected as well as changes in the annual goose migration. The shorter winter freeze is also affecting my people’s ability to travel in the North.

In colder months, we make great use of the frozen landscape to move about and a winter road connects communities up the James Bay coast. With the change in climate the winter road is going in later and thawing sooner every year.

Many in the corporate world and some in government are doing their best to discredit the scientists, writers and educators who are trying to alert us to this crisis of global warming. That sounds like a nasty thing to do but it is not the first time this form of denial has been encouraged.

…It is easy to feel helpless with such enormous issues like global warming but we can have a voice...Our future depends on it.

More links:

Under The Northern Sky

Wawatay Xavier Kataquapit