You’ve probably heard the old joke about Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory: it’s not the end of the world, but if you look hard enough, you can see it from here. These days, the joke isn’t quite so funny anymore. Climate change has arrived in the Yukon. And although climate change doesn’t actually herald imminent global disaster, it does have dark implications for existing Yukon ecosystems.
The Yukon is one of the planet’s climate-change hot spots, a fact that has attracted considerable interest in the academic research community. At the same time, the Yukon government is working hard to attract the interest of the oil-and-gas industry. Both exploration and research are touted by government as sources of economic diversity and job creation. The government argument is that work for Yukoners will be created by establishing an oil-and-gas sector. Perversely, too, the Yukon will create academic and industry opportunities in the study of–and adaptation to–climate change! This is ecological madness, sort of like paying someone to burn down their house in order to develop their firefighting skills.
Today the Taku is best known as a salmon stream, with commercial and sport fisheries in both B.C. and Alaska, and also as an endangered river, popular with eco-tourists and adventurers. But before it was any of these things, the Taku was the traditional hunting grounds of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN).
Canadian environmental organizations play a wide range of roles in combating climate change. Some analyze and popularize the science and impacts of climate change, some challenge industry and many target governments. Others are focused on long-term public education campaigns, grassroots initiatives and building the movement.
Page 22 of 22