Can we keep the NW Passage Pristine?


The Pristine Beauty of the Arctic Seas in the NW Passage
The Abundant Arctic Wildlife – Let’s Keep it That Way.

I have been reading an ARCTIS report on the future scenario for the NW passage and Canadian Arctic by 2020. Really interesting reading looking at shipping viability, ecological systems and the impact the melting ice could have. Fears of increased traffic in this region either commercial or supply could upset the delicate balance between the Inuits and the eco structure .

The Inuits, also known as The People have created a balance with the tough environment they survive in and modern-day technology and the desire to make the NW Passage commercially viable could irreparably destroy that balance.

The indigenous people rely on the delicate balance to survive, the water and ice favours their lifestyle ensuring the communities can remain in contact. That fishing and hunting can happen, as the Inuits are hunters the area not really being friendly for farming. the food the Inuits hunt for food, and before modern clothing all their clothes, boots and homes came from the animals they hunted. Animals like

  • Caribou
  • Moose
  • Walrus
  • Seal
  • Whale
  • Fish
  • Mountain Sheep
  • Bears
  • Hares and Squirrels

Once caught meat is kept frozen by being buried in the tundra. further information on the culture can be found at this site, which gives an interesting insight into the ways of the Inuit before and now. While traditional and modern Inuits exist side by side do not think by any means that they are politically unaware of their regions potential to others. Since winning to stop Project Chariot  in 1958 the Inuits keep a close eye on what is happening in their region and are not afraid to speak their minds. There is constant need for them to keep an awareness on their region as greedy oil and commercial eyes continue to turn towards the NW passage and despite all promises to the contrary I for one do not believe any good would come of opening this area up any further.

What do you think? This is not a simple matter the whole way of indigenous life is under threat once again by the greed of man. This pristine wilderness is precious and once gone will not return, we all need to prevent its destruction.



North West Passage Politics

The Nort West passage route through the Ccanadian Artic Archipelago
The North West Passage Route

I alluded last post to the debate on who has ownership of the North west passage; a debate as intense as any of the mysteries of its discovery.  All routes have to go  through the Islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago  and because of this Canada claims the route as Canadian internal waters but the US claims they are International Waters and as such transverse them without notification. Who owns the Arctic ocean is hotly debated and I have found this wonderful article that you can peruse at your leisure that debates this particular issue along with this ICE case study from 2006 that I found fascinating.

I am Canadian so I know what I think – anyone out there reading this let me know your thoughts and concerns. One thing is certain in the past few years with the climate change, arctic ice is melting and that is allowing more access to the NW passage and I foresee this debate becoming a problem – I truly hope not but the politics are sensitive and involve a number of countries including Russia. Although this article states that the NW passage may not be the bonus everyone thinks it might be.  Looking at all this current conflict about the NW passage is intriguing and interesting and the question of what will happen is always there. Maybe next post it will be worth while looking at what the benefits would be if the NW passage is opened up. I must admit I for one cannot really see any but worry about the environmental damage that might ensue.