By Lee-Anne Goodman
OTTAWA – Greenpeace and the Inuit have joined forces to protest Arctic seismic testing, warning that plans to gauge oil and gas reserves with high-intensity sound waves in Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait pose grave dangers to marine life.
Inuit activists are staging a protest Wednesday in Nunavut’s Clyde River, a tiny Baffin Island hamlet just above the Arctic Circle, a week after Greenpeace took their cause to the United Nations.
An Inuit environmentalist also took aim at Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, a Nunavut MP, accusing the Conservative government of “cultural genocide” for its efforts to open up the Arctic to oil and gas exploration.
“We depend on these waters for food and the very existence of Inuit life depend on them,” said Niore Iqalukjuak in an open letter to Aglukkaq in the Nunatsiaq News.
“We fear that what the Conservative government is doing is a cultural genocide and will end the Inuit way of life as we know it. … You are our representative. Speak up on our behalf.”
Aglukkaq’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Iqalukjuak’s letter or on the protest being held in Clyde River.
Greenpeace, meantime, has thrown its support behind the community.
“Proposed seismic testing activities in Baffin Bay will have severe impacts on marine life and traditional lifestyles of coastal indigenous peoples,” the organization’s Arctic campaigner, Farah Khan, said in a statement Tuesday.
“We stand with the community of Clyde River in their efforts to uphold their rights and preserve their traditions.”
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