The climate crisis is causing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety to people in Greenland who are struggling to reconcile the traumatic impact of global heating with their traditional way of life.
The first ever national survey examining the human impact of the climate emergency, revealed in the Guardian on Monday, shows that more than 90% of islanders interviewed fully accept that the climate crisis is happening, with a further 76% claiming to have personally experienced global heating in their daily lives, from coping with dangerous sea ice journeys to having sled dogs euthanised for economic reasons tied to shorter winters.
The Greenlandic Perspectives Survey was carried out by the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Social Data Science, the Kraks Fond Institute for Urban Economic Research and the University of Greenland. The study samples almost 2% of the population, spanning an area almost three times the size of France. An equivalent study in the UK would involve a sample of almost 1 million citizens.
Scattered across 17 small towns and approximately 60 villages, all situated on a narrow coastal strip, Greenland’s residents have often been overlooked by data science. The island faces some of the most acute social issues in the world with high levels of alcoholism and historically disproportionate rates of suicide.
According to its lead author, Kelton Minor, the survey finally gives Greenland’s most remote and inaccessible communities a voice on the climate crisis.
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