A warm welcome

Published on 31.03.2007 - Global Warming 101 Expedition

Sarah McNair Landry

Sarah McNair Landry

© International Polar Foundation

The expedition has taken a week to cover the distance between the towns of Pangnirtung and Qikiqtarjuaq. There like elsewhere, meetings were envisaged with the inhabitants to talk about Global Warming.

When she arrived in this little locality at the ends of the earth, Elizabeth André (who, we would remind you, deals with the expedition's educational aspect) was fascinated not so much by the village or its inhabitants, but by the fact that the expedition's Inuit guides would notice things that she didn't. For example, lemming tracks in the snow that Simon Oamaniq, one of the three guides, pointed out to her.

On March 27th, she wrote: "When I ride on the sled, my eyes tend to be fixed on the far-away mountains, the clouds, the dogs, and the other sleds. The Inuit hunters on our team, however, notice animal tracks, changes in the snow and ice, shifts in the wind and other subtleties of the Arctic land. Again I am reminded of the truth in the words of Sheila Watt-Cloutier. Shelia is the International Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. She asserts that the Inuit, as they travel and live on the land, can act as sentries for the rest of the world. They warn us of environmental changes that we do not yet notice."

Just like when they got to Pangnirtung, a superb welcome was awaiting the members of the expedition. They had an appointment in the Hamlet centre with the inhabitants on March 28th. Out of this little village's 500 inhabitants, 200 came to listen to the expedition members talk of climate and the vicissitudes of their journey, fragile ice, frozen torrents, huge storms, life under canvas, each member's resistance, and so on and so forth.

On March 30th, Sarah, the twenty-year-old daughter of those well-known explorers, Matty McNair and Paul Landry, arrived to join the expedition; she was to remain with them for three weeks, the time that was due to be taken for the Qikiqtrajuaq-Clyde River leg.

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