The Arctic harbours one of the world’s least disturbed marine ecosystems, plays a crucial role in moderating the planet’s climate and is home to spectacular wildlife, fish and marine mammal populations. The biological riches of the Arctic provide physical and spiritual sustenance for indigenous peoples who have vibrant communities in the north.
The Arctic and its people now face enormous challenges. Climate change is melting polar ice that contributes to climate stability, regulates ocean currents and is the foundation of the Arctic’s biological richness. The warming ocean is altering the Arctic marine ecosystem in ways never before witnessed by humans. At the same time, the disappearance of ice is beginning to provide unprecedented access for industrial development.
The Arctic is ever-present in Canadian culture. Every student sings about “the True North Strong and Free” in the National Anthem, learns about the creation of Nunavut in 1999 and studies famous Arctic explorers like Alexander Mackenzie and Sir John Franklin. Canadians read the work of poets and writers who weave the North into the fabric of their writing such as Robert Service, Margaret Atwood, John Ralston Saul and Robertson Davies.
Nunavut Quest 2010 Finish Line
Likewise, Canada is important to the Arctic. Inuit and government leaders from Canada have played pivotal roles in establishing international cooperation in the Arctic Council, negotiating a global treaty on contaminants and alerting the world to the effects of climate change.
To this end, Oceans North Canada promotes science- and community-based conservation of Canada’s northern seas and the resulting well-being of indigenous residents who rely upon its natural wealth.
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A research team from The Pew Charitable Trusts' Oceans North Canada project and the Institute of Marine Science at the Université du Québec à Rimouski mounted time-lapse camera stations on the remote coast of north Baffin Island to help monitor the environmental impact of an iron ore mine’s proposal for an extended shipping season through landfast ice in Eclipse Sound. Read More
Socked in under a thick layer of fog on the shores of Nunavut’s Eclipse Sound, we begin a day marked by impatience for me. Our research team, a joint project of Pew’s Oceans North Canada and the Institute of Marine Science of the Université du Québec à Rimouski, has important work to do and a narrow window in which to do it. But for now, all we can do is wait. Read More