Inuit Knowledge, Innovation and Infrastructure – Inuit youth perspectives on infrastructure for adaptation and resilience

The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) will host a panel discussion with Inuit youth from across Inuit Nunaat, Inuit homelands and territory, to explore answers to the question of how existing Inuit knowledge and Inuit innovation and technologies might help better inform climate-resilient infrastructure. Most of Inuit Nunaat already has an infrastructure deficit that connects to climate resilience and adaptive capacity. For example:

• Education: Most Inuit must travel far from home for post-secondary education.
• Power: Many Inuit communities are reliant on diesel generators to provide power.
• Housing: Lack of sufficient housing is chronic in Inuit communities. In 2017, there were almost 900 people in Greenland with no permanent housing.
• Marine infrastructure: Inuit are coastal people and rely on marine resources. With an Arctic Ocean open for more of the year, the seas present opportunities for traditional harvesting pursuits, and other opportunities from increased shipping access. But this require appropriate infrastructure that is currently sparse in Inuit Nunaat.

Climate change is a challenge to the integrity of various aspects of our community infrastructure. In Alaska, whole Inuit communities are threatened, as big storms are no longer buffered by protective shore ice. In other communities, there are concerns about the integrity of roads, pipelines, water and sewer pipes, and runways. The whole connective tissue of Inuit Nunaat is being challenged by climate change. This event will engage Inuit youth in thinking about and describing the sorts of infrastructure that will be necessary to withstand the changes already occurring in their home communities.