The Meaning of Ice

Last night I went to a fascinating lecture at The British Museum on ‘The Meaning of Ice: people and sea ice in three arctic communities’. The speaker was Dr Shari Fox Gearheard of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre. Shari took the audience through what the arctic ice means to three communities who live on the ice; Inuit from Canada, Iñupiat from Alaska and Inughuit from Northern Greenland.

It was both refreshing and grounding to hear stories from the ice – tales from those who have the sea ice as their home, their food source, their freedom and their way of life.

Shari took the audience through photos and stories of those who live on the ice; she, herself has been living with Inuit for 20 years and has become part of the community in Clyde River, Nunavut.

Dog sledding, hunting, clothing, family bonds, culture and stories from the sea, such as Sedna the sea goddess were shared.

It was truly inspiring and showed how important the Arctic is for so many. The communities who live there are at risk from seismic testing, offshore oil development and climate change.  We must remember to be gentle with our planet, and respectful, for sometimes we forgot those who we cannot see. The science behind the Ice Warrior expedition is extremely important but I also think showing the culture and the way of life for those who rely on the ice is equally as important.

If you are looking for some Arctic culture, I’d recommend the book.


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