Bill Hillman's 
EduTech Research Project
John Tyman's
INUIT ~ People of the Arctic
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Part 5: Human Impact and Environmental Issues I 
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70. Jigging for fish through holes in the ice. 
The food resources of the Arctic were able to sustain 
a subsistence hunting economy for thousands of years.
The people, seemingly, with a nomadic lifestyle and appropriate technologies
lived in harmony with their environment
(however harsh it might seem to us today)
and they had little impact on the land. 
71. Private "parking area" beside house in Taloyoak today.
In the last hundred years or so, though, 
with the introduction of very different technologies and different values
a range of problems have become apparent within 
what is clearly a delicately balanced ecosystem..


72. Part of local graveyard.
The problem permafrost presents to house construction 
can be overcome at a price by raising houses on stumps
(as illustrated in the Clothing and Shelter section) 
and if people could not be buried in the ground 
they could at least be covered with rocks to keep animals away. 
But the other issues await solutions still.
73. Hauling sled overland in late spring.
When hunters relied on dog teams for transportation
they could not only be self-sufficient (see Transport section) 
but also left few marks upon the land. 
With the change to more powerful snowmobiles, however,
hunters are tempted to haul sleds overland even after the snow has melted
(instead of carrying their gear themselves or using dogs as pack animals)..

74. Early stage in development of ruts.
The plant cover crushed by the heavy vehicle
soon blows away exposing the soil to run-off. 
Also since the soil is usually dark at the surface 
it absorbs more of the sun's heat, the subsoil melts, 
and deep ruts can develop.


75. Kitchen waste bin.
Next there is the problem of waste disposal. 
Because of the low temperatures and limited precipitation
the rate of decay here is exceedingly slow. 
And with the switch to permanent settlements 
in place of temporary camp sites, 
and the consumption of store-bought items enveloped in packaging 
that will never decay, the build-up of garbage is tremendous..

76. Burning garbage on street in Pelly Bay.
In some cases the local authorities insist 
that residents burn their garbage outside, 
so the council only has to collect ashes etc. 
The resulting smoke and acrid fumes clearly impair the quality of life here.
77. Garbage awaiting collection outside house in Taloyoak.
In other communities the council truck picks up everything, 
including unsaleable animal skins..


78. Dump outside Taloyoak.
These are then burrnt at the dump outside of town, 
where the gulls scavenge.
This reduces the smoke problem close to home
but disfigures the landscape nonetheless.
79. Polluted stream near old dump. 
And several streams close to town are clearly polluted..


80. Water truck loading at pump station in town. 
Fresh water can be pumped from lakes further away, 
and distributed by truck.


81. Raw sewage pumped into lake.
But there's also waste water to worry about. 
Few communities in the Arctic feel 
they can justify the cost of a processing plant, 
so the water pumped from domestic tanks 
(see the Housing section)
is simply hauled out of town and dumped into a lake..

82. Old fuel drums. 
Waste iron is a problem also, as it rusts only slowly. 
Fuel is brought in using steel drums 
but in the absence of appropriate legislation 
no one is prepared to pay the price of shipping them out again. 
So old fuel drums litter every air strip and boat harbour in the Arctic.
83. Site of earlier dump at Taloyoak.
And at council dumps tin cans and scrap metal 
remain in near mint condition, immune to burning 
and too far from a smelter to justify the costs of recycling..


84. Tin cans near lake.
At hunting camps in the old days almost everything was biodegradeable:
when the people moved on there was little that remained
as evidence of their occupancy. 
Today almost all such sites are strewn with garbage.
85. Burning garbage at hunting camp. 
In this case the family try to burn most of it
-- using seal oil, ironically,
to help incinerate more stubborn items..

Dr. John Tyman
I. Environment:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
II. Food Sources: 
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
III: Clothing/Shelter:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
IV. Family: 
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
V. Community:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Text, photos and recordings by John Tyman
Intended for Educational Use Only.
Copyright Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University, 2010.
Contact Dr. John Tyman for more information regarding licensing.

Photo processing, Web page layout, and formatting by
William Hillman | www.hillmanweb.com
Assistant Professor ~ Faculty of Education ~ Brandon University ~ Brandon, Manitoba ~ Canada