Seismic Blasting and Its Effects on the Inuit People

The Inuit, a people native to the Arctic and Alaska, have occupied parts of North America for thousands of years.

Thus, it is obvious to say that they are entitled to the land and way of living that they have upheld for so long. However, the people have recently been put in danger by the material endeavors of first world countries. After having been tossed around and forced into the Western way of life for decades by the Canadian government, the Inuit people are now losing their main food supply -- all because of a venture that was never given permission to take place: seismic blasting.

For those unfamiliar with seismic blasting, it is a modern method of oil detection. Ships are sent out into the ocean with seismic airguns that send off high air-pressure blasts into the water every 10 seconds-- 24 hours a day, for consecutive days or even weeks-- in order to detect oil and gas underneath the ocean floor. Seismic blasting may be a good omen for gas companies in the future, but for the environment… not so much. This practice could severely injure a plethora of marine wildlife, including whales and dolphins, and interfere in the habitats of many others. Some of these impacts include hearing loss, mating and feeding disruption, and even complete abandonment of habitat. For most of marine wildlife, hearing is almost 100% necessary for navigation, detecting prey, communication, and maintaining an effective immune system, making these effects even more devastating . Seismic blasting could have an extremely detrimental effect on marine wildlife in both the short term and long term. Not only is this horrific news for the environment, it is also detrimental to the Inuit people.

Because they cannot rely on commercial grocery stores and supermarkets provided by the government to give them food, the Inuit people rely on marine wildlife as a food source. Narwhals, sharks, and various other animals make up a great percentage of the Inuit diet, and with seismic blasting murdering these animals, it seems as though it will be erasing humans as well.

The seismic companies have asked for a permit to initiate a five-year seismic blasting program in the Arctic. Unfortunately, the Canadian government accepted this proposal. Interestingly, there is an article in theUnited Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that requires consent of the people before any decisions concerning their territory are made. However, it was ultimately ignored by the Canadian government, and the seismic blasting plot was initiated anyway.

It’s unsettling to think that, to this day, the governments of first-world nations are neglecting select groups of people in favor of material gain. America has been treating the Native Americans with contempt since Columbus first stepped foot on the Americas, and Canada has similarly been ignoring the needs of the Inuit tribes in the Article Circle.

The Inuit community has been working together to create a legal pact and fight against the injustices brought upon them. To learn more about the Seismic Blasting catastrophe and how you can help, visit the following links to a video and a petition:

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