Traditional Knowledge Goes Global: Northern communities contributing to international Polar research
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada release, 20 April 2012

MONTREAL, CANADA: Held from 22-27 April 2012, the International Polar Year 2012 conference draws attention to the Polar regions, global change, and related environmental, social and economic issues. The Canadian Arctic hosts dozens of projects initiated under the International Polar Year (IPY) focusing on everything from ozone depletion, to mapping changes to sea ice and oceans, to finding solutions to climate change challenges and ensuring healthy diets for Inuit people whose traditional lifestyles have evolved dramatically. Aboriginal Elders and hunters from communities across the North have been at the heart of the action. One project led by researchers from Carleton University investigated the nature of sea ice use and occupancy, and how this has changed over time. The integration of traditional knowledge of sea ice was central to this research, according to the Carleton team, “learning through first-hand experiences in northern communities has taught us the value of local expertise, flexibility, and many new perspectives on complex issues.” In addition, the Circumpolar Flaw Lead Study – the largest Canadian project with over 400 participants from 27 countries – also included community-based monitoring that incorporated Aboriginal experiences and perspectives. It examined the importance of changing climate processes in the Northern hemisphere and the effect these changes have on the marine ecosystem, the transportation of contaminants, carbon dioxide levels and greenhouse gases. All told, 33 of 45 Canadian IPY scientific projects included traditional knowledge in the research. Read the release … Visit the IPY 2012 website …

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