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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As the sea ice recedes each summer, more than 57,000 beluga whales return to the estuaries of Manitoba’s southwestern Hudson Bay to molt, feed, and give birth. A new video released this week by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Oceans North Canada project documents the crucial role these biologically rich estuaries play as the belugas’ summer home. Read More
Riding over rough sea ice on the back of a snowmobile in near-whiteout conditions, it was hard to imagine that the area would be ice-free in only a few short weeks. Spring on north Baffin Island meant that I was setting out to do narwhal research wearing three layers plus my winter parka. Our three-member team left the community of Pond Inlet and traveled south into Milne Inlet, a summering area... Read More