Sizeable portion of Greenland’s indigenous population wants their leadership to evaluate the effects of sand exports and extraction on the country’s economy and environment
Three out of every four Greenlanders favour extracting and exporting sand left by melting ice sheet, noted a recent study.
A sizeable portion of Greenland’s indigenous population wants their leadership to evaluate the effects of sand exports and extraction on the country’s economy and environment, the study published in Nature Sustainability, further added.
A research team from McGill University, Canada, conducted a nationwide survey of over 1,000 people in Greenland. Indigenous population comprised around 90 per cent of the total respondents.
“We were quite surprised to learn that there was such a high level of local support for exploiting the sand,” Mette Bendixen, an assistant professor at McGill, told the university’s official news portal.
This work clearly shows how an increasingly globalised Arctic indigenous population wants to be and should be a part of the decision-making processes, he added.
The melting of glaciers due to climate change has led to the deposition of significant amounts of sand and gravel along the coasts of Greenland.
This abundance of resources amid a rapidly growing global demand opens an opportunity before Greenland to become a global exporter of sand.
Most people choose the participation of local communities over international collaborations, when asked about the rights over mining.
Mining in Greenland, in the past, has excluded local perspectives. Such operations regularly encountered vehement local opposition from the indigenous communities.
“This study discusses how Arctic communities can adapt to accelerated Arctic changes,” added Bendixen.
Eight per cent of the annual sediment contribution delivered to the global oceans comes from Greenland’s ice sheet. This number is expected to increase with continued global warming, noted another study published in Nature Sustainability.
Arctic countries like Greenland have been struggling with the long-term implications of climate change, primarily due to their over-reliance on, the now-vulnerable, commercial fishing industry.
Greenland has tried diversifying its economy through mining, oil extraction and tourism. But, the country still suffers from a 10 per cent unemployment rate and revenue deficits.
“If Greenland is to benefit from sand extraction, we must raise awareness about the resource both locally and globally,” Minik Rosing, a professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum, had told phys.org, a news website.
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