Environmental Knowledge in Motion: Ingenuity and Perseverance of Hunters among North Greenland

Dog sleds, North Greenland. Photo: Hayashi Naotaka

Background: This case study examines responses to climate change amongst hunters in Avanersuaq, North Greenland. It highlights how climate change impacts and adaptations interact with social, cultural and economic dimensions. Accordingly, the impact of climate change differs from place to place.  In addition, the perception of climate change varies from the local to the national levels. Just one example of this is that there is a growing expectation that climate change may bring an opportunity to the inhabitants of South Greenland, which makes South Greenland an interesting place to analyze.  This is very different from other places in the Circumpolar North, for example, Nunavut, Canada, where climate change is always thought to bring about a negative impact to the local people.  The study of Greenland always teaches me how the perception of environmental change influences and shapes the future vision of community.

Hayashi Naotaka

About the author: Having earned a B.Agri/Forestry (1995) at the University of Tokyo, Tokyo (ca. 36˚N), Hayashi Naotaka worked for the Government of Hokkaido (ca. 43˚N), the northernmost prefecture in Japan.  As a Forestry and Biological Technologist, he was involved mainly in forest protection, from entomological research to pest control, during 1995-2002.  This professional experience led him to study the social dimension of forest management in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton (ca. 53˚N), Canada.  His MA thesis is about the forest management cooperatively undertaken by a First Nation in northern Alberta (ca. 58˚N), the provincial government, and forest companies.  The study of the Cree people led to a general interest in the Circumpolar North.  Soon after, he moved on to the PhD program and chose to study the communities of North Greenland.