- People of the Russian Arctic and the North
Over the past few decades, the problem of global warming has become particularly relevant for people of the Russian Arctic and the North. The main issue is that the Arctic climate is changing faster than in other parts of the world. The victims of these processes are Indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic, who are the most vulnerable category of the Russian population to the negative effects of climate change.
For thousands of years, these peoples developed special mechanisms for adapting to harsh climatic conditions, but rapid climate change in recent years has created serious problems even for them, the scale of which cannot yet be estimated. They will not be able to adapt to the new conditions on their own.
The basis of the life for Indigenous peoples are the traditional sectors of their economy: reindeer husbandry, hunting, fishing and gathering, all of which are seriously threatened by climate change. Reindeer husbandry is the basis of life for many people in the Arctic region. For example, in Yakutia, due to the warming climate, snow does not freeze at the right time, and as it freezes, deer cannot get food for themselves. There is also a reduction and degradation of pastures, as well as a decrease in the number of deer.
The total number of deer exceeds 150 thousand, and climate change leads to a shortage of food for them. Now the government needs to take some measures to adapt to climate change and the challenges that affect the Arctic region, otherwise these problems can become a disaster.
As for fishing – the same issue arises: fish in the Arctic can only be caught at a certain time. As a result, if there is a flood, and the water in the rivers and lakes does not subside, people are left without fish.
In addition, the banks of rivers in the Arctic are falling off: permafrost is melting and the population that lived on the banks of rivers now faces floods almost every year.
Another problem faced by the Indigenous peoples of the North is the life support of the Arctic with essential goods, food and medical services. These supplies depend on winter roads. As a result of global climate warming, winter roads open much later. People are already on the verge of disaster: fuel for power plants is not delivered on time. Thus, the problem of climate warming for indigenous peoples of the North is a matter of survival.
Today, the Russian government is doing quite a lot to support the Indigenous peoples of the North. Such support includes:
- targeted social and financial support;
- the deer population is supported by the purchase of new livestock units;
- money is invested in special devices that allow cooling the soil in northern cities; this preserves the integrity of civil and economic buildings threatened by the melting of permafrost;
- government sponsored research on the impact of climate change on the Arctic and its inhabitants.
However, all these measures do not solve the main problem – they are not aimed at helping the Indigenous and numerous peoples of the north adapt to climate change; but rather at eliminating climate change’s consequences and trying to maintain the way things currently are.
It is necessary to proceed from the fact that the rate of temperature growth in the future will only accelerate and, consequently, the situation of small communities in the North will get worse result, and can finally destroy the habitual way of life of these communities. The only opportunity that Russia should take advantage of is a more active inclusion of the country in the global climate initiative.
Charitable Foundation for the Support of Indigenous Peoples of the North
Tel: +7 495 6170818
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Russia Country Manager Michael Oshchepkov