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“Living in a Changing Arctic” at Yukon College

15 March 2015
A public event on adaptation to climate change and addressing black carbon and methane emissions in the Arctic was held during the recent SAO meeting in Whitehorse.

During the recent Senior Arctic Officials meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, “Living in a Changing Arctic” - a public event focused on adaptation to climate change and addressing black carbon and methane emissions in the Arctic - was held at Yukon College, with the support of Yukon College’s Northern Climate ExChange.

The event brought together Arctic Council delegates, representatives of Arctic Council working groups and task forces, community members and students, including a group of 7thgrade students from the Yukon Montessori School who are preparing to conduct a model Arctic Council. The students used the opportunity to sit down informally with representatives from the Arctic Council states, learn about how the Arctic Council works, and pose candid, challenging questions about the positions of the states they will be representing during the role-play.

Vince Rigby, Canada’s Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials, and Lacia Kinnear, manager of the Northern Climate ExChange at Yukon College, welcomed attendees to the event and took note of the beautiful surroundings. They were followed by panelists Alison Perrin of the Yukon Research Centre, Steven Roddick of the Yukon Government’s Climate Change Secretariat and Michael Young of the US Department of State, who discussed the unique challenges that every Arctic community faces in adapting to rapid change, and gave the attendees a “sneak preview” of the soon-to-be-released Arctic Adaptation Exchange portal. The adaptation portal is intended to provide a platform for communities to exchange experiences, lessons learned and best practices for adapting to a rapidly changing Arctic.

On the evening’s second panel, France Jacovella (co-chair of the Arctic Council’s Task Force for Action on Black Carbon and Methane) and Jim Gamble (of the Aleut International Association) discussed the Council’s work to address black carbon and methane emissions through the development of a framework for action and a community project focused on assessing and developing tools for black carbon reduction in indigenous communities.

Following the presentations, students and community members in the audience posed questions to the panelists and then had an opportunity to network over refreshments. For the Arctic Council representatives in the room, it was a great opportunity to meet with Whitehorse residents and, most especially, with the students who attended.