The woman, Jensine, told the researchers about her grandson, who asked her, “Grandma, do you know that the ice here will disappear in the future? Can’t you see that some of it has already disappeared?”
“It is very easy to see changes when you pay attention,” Jensine said. “It is hard for me to imagine the country’s future.”
About 80 percent of respondents told the researchers that they feel the melting sea ice is increasingly dangerous for the population, leading to both isolation and harrowing travels to neighboring communities. More than two-thirds said they were concerned about the effects of the climate crisis on sled dogs—the primary mode of transportation for many in winter months when the sea ice is treated as an “open highway,” according to Minor—and about half said they were concerned about the effects on people and future generations.
Comments gathered in the municipality of Avannaata included, “Even if we plan ahead, we can’t travel” and “It’s affecting all communities.”
“I am worried because climate change will make the animals decrease in abundance or disappear, and we won’t be able to get Greenlandic supplies,” one respondent in the western region of Qeqqata said.
“It’s raining and snowing more often and the sea isn’t calm anymore,” added a resident of Avannaata, “and all of those things will have a negative impact on our lives and livelihood.”
About 38 percent said they feel fearful of the changes resulting from the warming globe.
Howard said these new anxieties must be addressed directly by the medical field, especially as powerful countries like the U.S. continue pursuing the extraction of fossil fuels for energy instead of shifting rapidly to a renewable energy system, as 75 percent of Greenlanders say governments should.
“We are challenging the medical profession to acknowledge the world we are inheriting,” Howard told The Guardian. “Schools and universities aren’t considering how climate change will affect people, from a medical or a psychological perspective, so we are not training a new generation of medical professionals to help people in a fast-changing planet and this is intolerable.”