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  • While social problems such as unemployment may be reduced by venturing into other economic activities, another way of looking at the issue is that the problems may rise since the new activities will exclude the Inuit people, majority of who are unskilled. This is particularly notable since unemployed people are likely to turn to vices such as sex work and alcoholism.

While social problems such as unemployment may be reduced by venturing into other economic activities, another way of looking at the issue is that the problems may rise since the new activities will exclude the Inuit people, majority of who are unskilled. This is particularly notable since unemployed people are likely to turn to vices such as sex work and alcoholism. Essay Example

The increased rate melting of ice in Greenland has affected the people living in many parts of the island such as Uummannaq in many ways. Notably, the melting of ice has affected the Inuit people’s way of life since they can no longer depend solely on fishing and hunting activities, which have traditionally been part of their culture. In addition, partly because of reduced opportunities for fishing and hunting, the Inuit people are severely affected by social problems such as lack of employment (BBC News 2014). Recently, HIV/AIDS has become a major concern in the region, and so is alcoholism since people turn to alcohol as a way of avoiding their social problems such as unemployment. While the situation in Greenland is already becoming dire, the bad news is that the social and cultural problems are likely to be compounded by the prospect of mining activities which are likely to be launched in the region the next few years.

Why is ice melting a big concern for people in areas such as Uummannaq? Well, the major cultural concern for the Inuit people is that when the snow and ice disappear, their way of life will disappear too (Brown 2003). This is exemplified by the declining fish stocks, which implies that many people can no longer go fishing. Those who can still go fishing can only do so for a limited period in a year since ice melts for longer periods every year than it used to before. That’s not all; Inuit hunters can no longer afford to subsist on whales, seals and walruses since they are always uncertain when ice will come. When ice is so thin, there is no solid substratum to support various activities and sometimes hunters fall through the ice. The result is that many hunters have had to give up their traditional way of life. In addition, because of the warm ocean and the resulting permafrost melting, foundations of houses have been destroyed, forcing many people to move their homes further inland. In short, in the next few years, it will not be possible to see the Inuit people’s way of life since the people are being forced to change the way they live. This will be compounded by the fact that with the prospect of mining in Greenland, the indigenous people of the region will have to contend with an influx of foreigners employed in the mining industry. This interaction will further disrupt the Inuit people’s culture.

As pointed out earlier, many people in areas such as Uummannaq face social problems such as unemployment, HIV/AIDS and alcoholism. These problems have been accelerated by the decline in meaningful economic activities due to ice melting. Many people are unemployed and this is likely to be a catalyst for vices such as alcoholism and sex work, which increases the rate of HIV infection. Yet, with the possibility of mining and exploration for gas and oil in Greenland in the next few years, it is likely that these problems may be exacerbated since many people in the region lack the skills required to work in the new industry.

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Climate change in recent times has remarkably increased the rate of melting of ice in the Greenland region. This in turn has had several cultural and social implications for people living in areas such as Uummannaq. In essence, the cultural implications of ice meting in Greenland include the fact that the indigenous (Inuit) people’s way of life is greatly being altered. These people can no longer rely on fishing and hunting, which have traditionally been embedded in their culture as means of livelihood. Additionally, since the Inuit people’s opportunities to get an income through hunting and fishing have been reduced, these people are now exposed to social problems such as unemployment, an increase in HIV/AIDS infections, and alcoholism (BBC News 2014). These social ills are being exacerbated by the lack of meaningful social support systems in the region. But the situation is likely to get worse with the news that Greenland is likely to start engaging in mining activities as well as exploration for oil and gas. While the new activities are likely to benefit the Greenland society in terms of improved incomes from activities other than fishing and hunting, the underlying problem is that many people are likely to be excluded in the new initiatives, thus making the current situation dire.

People in Uummannaq are bearing the brunt of ice melting in many different ways. The biggest concern is that as ice and snow disappear due to the ocean getting warmer every day, so do their traditional way of life too (Brown 2003). Based on this argument, it is justifiable to say that the Inuit people’s culture is tied to the existence of ice in the region. However, with the declining ice and declining fish stocks, many people can no longer go fishing. Those who can still make it to the fishing grounds only do so over a few months a year because ice melts longer than it used to in the past. As well, hunters can no longer rely on catching seals, whales and walruses because the grounds to catch these animals are being destroyed and the animals are moving away (Brown 2003). In particular, when ice is very thin, the situation becomes risky for hunters since they can fall through the ice. Moreover, many hunters are always uncertain when the ice will come, and many have been forced to abandon this traditional practice (Brown 2003). But of the biggest concern is the point that many people are being forced to move from their traditional areas of residence since the warm ocean makes it difficult to build houses on the thin ice. Consequently, many people have been forced to move further inland. In a nutshell, over the next few years it will not be possible to have a distinct Inuit culture since these people are being forced to change their way of life. To add on this, the new mining activities anticipated in the region are expected to cause an influx of foreigners in Greenland, which will further disrupt the Inuit people’s culture (Vidal 2014).

While social problems such as unemployment may be reduced by venturing into other economic activities, another way of looking at the issue is that the problems may rise since the new activities will exclude the Inuit people, majority of who are unskilled. This is particularly notable since unemployed people are likely to turn to vices such as sex work and alcoholism.

References

BBC News 2014, 1 January, ‘Greenland profile’, viewed 12 May 2014, <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-18249474>

Brown, P 2003, ‘Global warming is killing us too, say Inuit’, The Guardian, 11 December, viewed 12 May 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2003/dec/11/weather.climatechange>

Vidal, J 2014, ‘Climate change brings new risks to Greenland, says PM Aleqa Hammond’, The Guardian, 23 January, viewed 12 May 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/23/climate-change-risks-greenland-arctic-icecap>