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Vital Arctic Graphics

Arctic indigenous peoples - Page 6

For Arctic indigenous people, the changes of the modern World bear both new opportunities and challenges.

Positive opportunities associated with industrialization may include revenues from development, increased access to jobs, improved access to and quality of health care, social services and education. Increased and improved communication and transport are also valuable factors associated with changes in the Arctic.

Negative impacts and challenges that indigenous peoples are faced with include loss of services and income when companies focussed on short-term profits close their operations, unwilling changes in chosen lifestyles, increased introduction of alcohol and drugs and diseases, increased unsustainable tourism, competition for traditional rights, loss of traditional game species, pollution and toxins in primary food sources, as well as increased risks from climate change, such as changes in weather patterns and sea ice, the latter a considerable risk factor for hunters in the pack ice (Berman et al., 2004; George et al, 2004; Norton and Gaylord, 2004; Voinov et al., 2004). Particularly serious threats include increased access by southern-based fishing industries to coastal trawl fisheries and coastal development by mining and petroleum companies- both of which pose an imminent threat to coastal resources by pollution, toxins and/or oil spills. Heavy traffic in itself may result in large-scale avoidance by many game species, while a large number of tourists or immigrant workers may compete for traditional rights (UNEP, 2001).