【词汇】雅思阅读常用词(015)- Climate Change and the Inuit

Cambridge 06 Test 1 -Passage 3: Climate Change and the Inuit

Unusual incidents are being reported across the Arctic. Inuit families going off on snowmobiles to prepare their summer hunting camps have found themselves cut off from home by a sea of mud, following early thaws. There are reports of igloos losing their insulating properties as the snow drips and refreezes, of lakes draining into the sea as permafrost melts, and sea ice breaking up earlier than usual, carrying seals beyond the reach of hunters. Climate change may still be a rather abstract idea to most of us, but in the Arctic it is already having dramatic effects – if summertime ice continues to shrink at its present rate, the Arctic Ocean could soon become virtually ice-free in summer. The knock-on effects are likely to include more warming, cloudier skies, increased precipitation and higher sea levels. Scientists are increasingly keen to find out what’s going on because they consider the Arctic the ‘canary in the mine’ for global warming – a warning of what’s in store for the rest of the world.

For the Inuit the problem is urgent. They live in precarious balance with one of the toughest environments on earth. Climate change, whatever its causes, is a direct threat to their way of life. Nobody knows the Arctic as well as the locals, which is why they are not content simply to stand back and let outside experts tell them what’s happening. In Canada, where the Inuit people are jealously guarding their hard-won autonomy in the country’s newest territory, Nunavut, they believe their best hope of survival in this changing environment lies in combining their ancestral knowledge with the best of modern science. This is a challenge in itself.

The Canadian Arctic is a vast, treeless polar desert that’s covered with snow for most of the year. Venture into this terrain and you get some idea of the hardships facing anyone who calls this home. Farming is out of the question and nature offers meagre pickings. Humans first settled in the Arctic a mere 4,500 years ago, surviving by exploiting sea mammals and fish. The environment tested them to the limits: sometimes the colonists were successful, sometimes they failed and vanished. But around a thousand years ago, one group emerged that was uniquely well adapted to cope with the Arctic environment. These Thule people moved in from Alaska, bringing kayaks, sleds, dogs, pottery and iron tools. They are the ancestors of today’s Inuit people.

Life for the descendants of the Thule people is still harsh. Nunavut is 1.9 million square kilometres of rock and ice, and a handful of islands around the North Pole. It’s currently home to 2,500 people, all but a handful of them indigenous Inuit. Over the past 40 years, most have abandoned their nomadic ways and settled in the territory’s 28 isolated communities, but they still rely heavily on nature to provide food and clothing. Provisions available in local shops have to be flown into Nunavut on one of the most costly air networks in the world, or brought by supply ship during the few ice-free weeks of summer. It would cost a family around £7,000 a year to replace meat they obtained themselves through hunting with imported meat. Economic opportunities are scarce, and for many people state benefits are their only income.

While the Inuit may not actually starve if hunting and trapping are curtailed by climate change, there has certainly been an impact on people’s health. Obesity, heart disease and diabetes are beginning to appear in a people for whom these have never before been problems. There has been a crisis of identity as the traditional skills of hunting, trapping and preparing skins have begun to disappear. In Nunavut’s ‘igloo and email’ society, where adults who were born in igloos have children who may never have been out on the land, there’s a high incidence of depression.

With so much at stake, the Inuit are determined to play a key role in teasing out the mysteries of climate change in the Arctic. Having survived there for centuries, they believe their wealth of traditional knowledge is vital to the task. And Western scientists are starting to draw on this wisdom, increasingly referred to as ‘lnuit Qaujimajatuqangit’, or IQ. ‘In the early days scientists ignored us when they came up here to study anything. They just figured these people don’t know very much so we won’t ask them,’ says John Amagoalik, an Inuit leader and politician. ‘But in recent years IQ has had much more credibility and weight.’ In fact it is now a requirement for anyone hoping to get permission to do research that they consult the communities, who are helping to set the research agenda to reflect their most important concerns. They can turn down applications from scientists they believe will work against their interests, or research projects that will impinge too much on their daily lives and traditional activities.

Some scientists doubt the value of traditional knowledge because the occupation of the Arctic doesn’t go back far enough. Others, however, point out that the first weather stations in the far north date back just 50 years. There are still huge gaps in our environmental knowledge, and despite the scientific onslaught, many predictions are no more than best guesses. IQ could help to bridge the gap and resolve the tremendous uncertainty about how much of what we’re seeing is natural capriciousness and how much is the consequence of human activity.

参考译文:

气候变化和因纽特人

有报道说在北极圈附近正发生一些不同寻常的事件。坐上雪橇准备去夏季打猎营地的因纽特人发现他们被困在家里。屋外的雪提早融化了,道路变得泥泞。有报道称因纽特人的小冰屋由于下雪后再次结冰就失去了隔温功能。类似的报道还有由于永久冻土的融化使得湖退变成了海,海中的冰相比从前更早断裂,从而带走了猎人们寻找的海豹。气候变化对我们来说也许仍是一个抽象的概念,但在北极地区它已经造成了巨大的影响。如果冰川在夏日里继续以现在的速度融化,不久北冰洋可能事实上在夏天就变得没有冰层。间接的影响可能包括持续变暖、阴沉的天空,增加的降雨和更高的海平面。科学家越来越希望找到原因。因为他们认为对于全球变暖来说北极是“矿井里的金丝雀”。它是世界其他地方即将发生的事情的警告。

对于因纽特人来说,问题是紧迫的。他们群居在地球环境最恶劣的地方。无论是什么原因,气候变化对他们的生话方式都是个直接的威胁。没有人比当地人更了解北极,这就是为什么当地人不满意站在一边而让外来专家告诉自己正在发生什么。在加拿大最新的一块领土,也是因纽特人精心保卫着他们得之不易的自治区努勒维特,他们觉得想要在这种变化的环境里生存就要结合祖先的知识和最好的现代科学。这本身也是个挑战。

加拿大的北极圈是一片光秃秃的广阔的极地沙漠,终年覆盖着积雪。走进这里你会发现每个称这里为家的人面临的困境。农业在这里是不可能的,而自然条件又使得人们没有其他收获。人类最早在北极圈定居不过是在4 500年前,靠捕食海洋哺乳动物和鱼类为生。环境把他们推向极限;有时殖民者成功,有时他们失败或消失。但是大约1 000年前有一个叫做图勒人的部落从阿拉斯加来到这里,带来了皮船、雪橇、猎狗、陶器和铁制工具。他们是今天因纽特人的祖先。

生活对于图勒人的后代依然是艰苦的。努勒维特是一块由岩石、冰川和北极附近少数几个岛屿组成的190万平方公里的区域,生活着包括少数土著因纽特人在内的2 500人。在过去的40年里,绝大多数人放弃了他们游牧式的生活习惯并分别住在28个独立的社区里。他们依旧依赖自然提供食物和衣物。在商店里出售的生活必需品只能通过世界上最昂贵的空运系统运达或是在非冰封期用运输船运来。如果要购买进口肉类来代替他们自己打猎获得的肉类,每年每个家庭就得花上约7 000英镑。经济机会少得可怜,对很多人来说政府的福利是他们唯一的收人。

尽管如果打猎和设下捕猎陷阱被气候变化因素限制,因纽特人也不会挨饿,但是他们的健康肯定受到影响。肥胖、心脏病和糖尿病在一个以前这些从来不是问题的民族中开始出现。当打猎、设置陷阱和制皮等传统手艺渐渐失传时也产生了身份危机。在努勒维特“小冰屋和电子邮件”共存的社会,大人出生在小冰屋,他们生的孩子从未出去到陆地上。这样的社会里高发著抑郁症。

因纽特人决定在解决气候变化的谜团中扮演重要的角色。由于已经生存了几个世纪,他们相信祖先留下的传统知识财富是此任务的关键。西方科学家们也开始利用这些知识,并越来越多地把它们叫做IQ。因纽特人的头人约翰·阿玛格里克说:“科学家最初来做研究时总是忽略我们。他们觉得我们什么都不懂,所以从不问我们。但是最近IQ变得越来越重要。”实际上,现在如果任何人想获得在当地进行研究工作的许可都要请教当地人。他们可以帮助设置研究的日常安排,向研究人员反映当地人最关注的问题,同时可以拒绝对他们日常生活造成不便或他们不关心的事项。

有的科学家置疑传统知识的价值.理由是因纽特人生活在当地的时间并不长。其他人指出在北方最早设立的气象站也只有50年。我们对气候的了解还有很多不足。尽管这些攻击的存在,很多预测还只是猜测。我们看到的有多少是自然的变化无常?哪些是人类活动的结果?而 IQ也许会帮助弥合分歧,告诉我们未知的答案。

http://jetedu.com/

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