Blog | First Nations
Northern Inspiration: Bringing science and youth together in the Moose Cree Homeland

MUDDY BOOTS BLOG

By Claire Farrell

5 August 2020

Youth voices around the world are calling loudly for action on climate change and biodiversity loss, including voices from Indigenous youth such as Autumn Peltier and international voices like Greta Thunberg.  But this urgency really became tangible for me as I travelled north to Moose Factory on the edge of James Bay over winter roads that were quickly becoming impassable.

Conditions on winter roads (ice roads) connecting far north communities are particularly poor this year — slushy and impassable in some areas — because of unseasonably warm temperatures. Winter roads, unlike all-season roads are temporary access roads made of ice and snow that are built over lakes, rivers or sometimes stretches of frozen wetlands. These roads are critical for connecting far north communities and many communities rely on winter roads to get the bulk of their supplies for their year delivered affordably. Nishnawbe Aski Nation, the representative organization for some of the First Nation communities in northern Ontario, reported in mid-February that only five communities had roads that were in good enough condition for freight hauling. As climate change continues to increase global temperatures, especially in northern regions, these already isolated communities will have less and less reliable use of winter roads.

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