Feature

Greenland: Three cheers for global warming

To the Inuits, global warming “is a gift from the heavens”—and not just because it means they can one day shed their long johns and parkas, said Doug Saunders in The Globe and Mail.

Doug SaundersThe Globe and Mail (Canada)

Greenlanders are probably the only people in the world who are thrilled with global warming, said Doug Saunders. To the rest of the world, the accelerated melting of Greenland’s ice sheet spells catastrophic change, “begetting rising ocean levels, weather volatility, reduced growing seasons, and fears of famine.” But to the Inuits who live there, global warming “is a gift from the heavens”—and not just because it means they can one day shed their long johns and parkas.

Like “most of the ex-nomadic peoples of the world,” the Inuits of Greenland were pushed to the margins over the past century, steadily deprived of their traditional livelihoods from of hunting and fishing and forced into “a humiliating life of dependence” on aid from the Danish government. That will change as the ice melts and new economic opportunities are exposed. Shrinking icebergs are making oil exploration easier. And mountains uncovered by the thaw have “already revealed visible zinc deposits” that are being explored by mining companies.

True, “not a penny has been earned yet from any of this.” But as long as temperatures continue to rise, the oil and mineral boom is bound to come. These people, long snowbound and frostbitten, finally have “the weather on their side.”

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