Tuesday August 25, 2015

Learning about climate change first hand on the land

Caitlyn Baikie currently lives in Ottawa where she works as a program manager for Students on Ice.

Caitlyn Baikie currently lives in Ottawa where she works as a program manager for Students on Ice.

Listen 4:06

Caitlyn Baikie had a hunting license before she had a driver's license.

Growing up in Nain, Labrador, the land was her classroom.

She went to school, of course, but when it comes to being a young Inuk woman, there are some things you just can't learn in a textbook.  

Caitlyn is just 23 years old. But already, a lot has changed in her hometown and the surrounding area. This is perhaps most obvious in the context of sea ice, which is well-trafficked in the winter.

"These [sea ice] routes that we travel on are thousands of years old but with the changing of climate now we can't predict which areas are always going to be safe," she said.

"One area that we always knew was safeā€¦ was actually bad and we didn't know that because we expected it was going to be good, but we lost hunters. So a family actually fell through the ice and they didn't ever come back."

According to Caitlyn, a reliable climate is key to passing on knowledge in her community. With the changes she's seen, she worries about the generations to come.

"It's frightening to me and what am I going to do with my children," she said.

- Caitlyn Baikie

"My parents didn't have to think about that when they were raising myself and my sister - they didn't have to think about how will we transfer this traditional knowledge."

Click the 'listen' button above to hear more.