For Canada’s Inuit populations, the landscapes surrounding communities, and practices such as hunting, fishing, trapping, foraging, and travelling to cabins, contribute greatly to human health and well-being. Climatic and environmental change, however, are altering local ecosystems, and it is becoming increasingly challenging for many Inuit to continue to travel or hunt on the land. These changes greatly impact health and well-being. While numerous studies examine the physical health impacts of climate change, few consider the affective implications of these changes, and the subsequent impacts on the emotional well-being of Inuit populations. From data gathered through a multi-year, community-driven project in Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, Labrador, Canada, however, it is evident that the emotional consequences of climate change are extremely important to Northern residents. Participants shared that these changes in land, snow, ice, and weather elicit feelings of anxiety, sadness, depression, fear, and anger, and impact culture, a sense of self-worth, and health. This article analyses the affective dimensions of climatic change, and argues that changes in the land and climate directly impact emotional health and well-being. Narratives of Inuit lived experiences will be shared through data from interviews, the concept of ecological affect will be introduced, and implications for climate-health research and programming will be discussed.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.