Want to feel the earliest effects of global warming? Two suggestions: head to the poles or stay up late. Temperatures are rising most quickly near the poles and at night. In the north, indigenous communities are experiencing hardships and threats to their traditional way of life from early thaws and the migration of animals on which they depend. And now they have to create new words for animals they’ve never seen before, according to Will Stegner, head of a 1200-mile, four-month-long dogsled expedition across the Canadian Arctic’s Baffin Island.
When he was interviewed in early March, he and his American and Inuit colleagues were heading for the Clyde River, through the highest polar bear population in the world. It was still the height of winter in the Arctic, but the temperature, 11 degrees Fahrenheit, was more typical of spring.
He said hunters he meets on Baffin Island are describing to him creatures they have no words for in their language, Inuktitut — robins, finches and dolphins. He said they all tell him the same thing: Hunting on the thinning sea ice has become too dangerous.
Meanwhile, another uplifting headline: “Coal burning having a devastating effect on rural Chinese.”