As Ice Thaws, Arctic Peoples at Loss for Words

Submitted by Cecil on 11/24/04 at 8:14 AM. ( )

November 19, 2004

Reykjavik, Iceland, 19 November 2004 - What are the words used by indigenous peoples in the Arctic for "hornet," "robin," "elk," "barn owl" or "salmon?" If you don't know, you're not alone.

Many indigenous languages have no words for legions of new animals, insects and plants advancing north as global warming thaws the polar ice and let forests creep over tundra.
"We can't even describe what we're seeing," said Sheila Watt-Cloutier, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference which says it represents 155,000 people in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia.

In the Inuit language Inuktitut, robins are known just as the "bird with the red breast," she said. Inuit hunters in north Canada recently saw some ducks but have not figured out what species they were, in Inuktitut or any other language.

An eight-nation report this month says the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet and that the North Pole could be ice-free in northern hemisphere summer by 2100, threatening indigenous cultures and perhaps wiping out creatures like polar bears.
The report, by 250 scientists and funded by the United States, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, puts most of the blame on a build-up of heat-trapping gases from human use of fossil fuels like coal and oil.

The thaw may have some positive spin-offs for people, for instance by making chill Arctic seas more habitable for cod or herring or by shifting agricultural lands and forestry north.

But on land, more and more species will be cramming into an ever-narrowing strip bounded to the north by the Arctic Ocean, threatening to destroy fragile Arctic ecosystems from mosses to Arctic foxes or snowy owls.

Elk shock
In Arctic Europe, birch trees are gaining ground and Saami reindeer herders are seeing roe deer or even elk, a forest-dwelling cousin of moose, on former lichen pastures.
"I know about 1,200 words for reindeer-- we classify them by age, sex, color, antlers," said Nils Isak Eira, who manages a herd of 2,000 reindeer in north Norway.

"I know just one word for elk -- 'sarvva'," said 50-year-old Eira. "But the animals are so unusual that many Saami use the Norwegian word 'elg'. When I was a child it was like a mythical creature."

Thrushes have been spotted in Saami areas of the Arctic in winter, apparently too lazy to bother migrating south.

Foreign ministers from the eight Arctic countries are due to meet in Reykjavik on Nov. 24 but are sharply divided about what to do. The United States is most opposed to any drastic new action.

The U.S. is the only country among the eight to reject the 127-nation Kyoto protocol meant to cap emissions of greenhouse gases. President Bush says the UN pact would cost too much and unfairly excludes developing states.

In some more southerly areas of the Arctic, like Canada's Hudson Bay, receding ice means polar bears are already struggling. The bears' main trick is to pounce when seals surface to breathe through holes in the ice.

The Arctic report says polar bears "are unlikely to survive as a species if there is a complete loss of summer-ice cover." Restricted to land, polar bears would have to compete with better-adapted grizzly or brown bears.

"The outlook for polar bears is stark. My grandson will lose the culture I had as a child," said Watt-Cloutier, referring to Inuit hunting cultures based on catching seals, bears or whales.

Salmon, owls
Around the Arctic, salmon are swimming into more northerly waters, hornets are buzzing north and barn owls are flying to regions where indigenous people have never even seen a barn.

Watt-Cloutier said indigenous peoples lacked well-known words for all of them.

The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report says that the region is set to warm by 4-7 degrees centigrade (7-13 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, twice the rate of the rest of the globe. The Arctic warms fast partly because dark ground and water, once uncovered, soaks up much more heat than snow and ice.

"Overall, forests are likely to move north and displace tundra," said Terry Callaghan, a professor of Arctic ecology at the University of Lund, Sweden. "That will bring more species -- birds that nest in trees, beetles that live in bark, fungi."

The lack of words to describe newcomers does not stop at animals and plants. "Words like 'thunderstorm' doesn't exist because they are phenomena indigenous peoples have never known," said Robert Corell, chair of the ACIA study.

Source: Reuters

Whether you people the warming phase is generated by man, part of a natural cycle, or as I do a little of both, is beyond the point. I found this article interesting.

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Come on Cecil

This response submitted by George on 11/24/04 at 8:47 AM. ( )

Don't start on THAT now. Global warming is a yuppie liberal myth. There was already a post someplace below EXPLAINING SCIENTIFICALLY what's happening to the Earth. SOME scientists even claim now that there's evidence of a change in POLARITY. That means Cancun will be hosting the Winter Olympics in a few millenia.


This response submitted by gordon on 11/24/04 at 8:54 AM. ( )

Cecil my friend you are setting yourself up as a dart board.

The issues and data of this article will be dismissed as factless, or other facts will be given to "water them down" by the intelligencia behind "The Righteous Curtain".

Although the issues definitely have to do with wildlife and taxidermy it will be dismissed as natural occurance. And so protocal and United Nation efforts to curb its effects on the planet's wildlife will be said to be the work "liberal, world govenment demons". So you are setting your self up Cecil.

And last but not least the North belongs to Canada and while it has been viewed as a buffer zone for many nations, come hell or high water it is Canada's settle and develope and defend!

Good luck Cecil. And manybe I have defected some of the flack coming your way soon. LOL


This response submitted by R.J. on 11/24/04 at 9:13 AM. ( )

I do beleive we had an ice age many years ago where most of tyhe earth was covered with I would have to assume that since we have no glaciers here in michigan we have been experiancing global warming for quite a while now........maybe a few million years ?

Nice try Cecil

This response submitted by Mike on 11/24/04 at 9:29 AM. ( )

But you know all the barstool scientists are going to weigh in their opinions when this gets posted, even when you stated,

"Whether you people the warming phase is generated by man, part of a natural cycle, or as I do a little of both, is beyond the point. I found this article interesting."

I also read an interesting article about the plight of the polar bear in a magazine, but don't remember which one.

Whether or not global warming is a factor, it still is an alarming trend. And since proving global warming is almost impossible based on the size of the project, it leaves the door wide open to the above speculation. But if it could be the cause and we could help to alleviate it, why not take that chance? Naw, lets just chalk it up to natural climatic change, less to concern ourselves with and far less responsibility.

Greenland Pump

This response submitted by Junipera on 11/24/04 at 11:00 AM. ( )

There is concern about the Atlantic Gulf Stream becoming too warm and affecting the Greenland Pump. This Pump needs cooler water/right percentage of salinity to work. Once it slows or stops, BIG climate change will occur.
Very readable link:

Excess hot air comes from democraps

This response submitted by Ron on 11/24/04 at 11:45 AM. ( )

George is right. This global warming crapola is a scare tactic by the democraps. Scientists must be liberals. It snowed in California a few days ago so that disproves your global warming dream. Bush is right. We show ignore this global warming BS because it will hurt the economy.

Kyrie Eleison!

This response submitted by Cur on 11/24/04 at 11:50 AM. ( whatever )

Hy'ar we go agin!

I would rather be known as a "bird with Red Breast" than Turdis migratorius, anyway....LOL.

Cecil knows well the cyclical events that produced our Earth's geological history. And you folks from the Wolverine State live where the glacial ice was once nearly a mile thick. AND that wasn't millions of years ago, but barely 10-12,000 years ago, which is the a flea fart in geological time sense.

One of the key words is that the great ice sheet which covered not, "most of the earth" but certainly a third of the northern hemisphere is, "last", as in "last ice age". The current, "Ice Age", from which earth is still recovering is, refered to as, " The Last", not meaning that would never be another, but "Last", meaning that there hasn't been one since.

There are trees and other vegetation buried under the ice of Antarctica. Deserts where lush tropical forests stood only centuries ago, and lush tropical forests where once there were none. Alligators once roamed as far North as the 78th parallel, halfway between the Arctic Circle (app 66 degrees North) and the North Pole. AND, they may darn well roam there again someday. This little globe we call home has borne witness to thousands of cycles over the billions of years of it's existence,and will undergo many more in the future. Prior to the development of sheet ice concentrations, our earth had no ice to mention for nearly one billion years. "Ice ages" are a relatively (in geological years) new event.

Many glacial advances and retreats have occurred during the last billion years of Earth history. These glaciations are not randomly distributed in time. Instead, they are concentrated into four time intervals. Large, important glaciations occurred during the late Proterozoic (between about800 and 600 million years ago), during the Pennsylvanian and Permian (between about 350 and 250 million years ago), and the late Neogene to Quaternary (the last 4 million years). Somewhat less extensive glaciations occurred during parts of the Ordovician and Silurian (between about 460 and 430 million years ago). During each of these periods, many glacial advances and retreats occurred.

If "Ice Age" is used to refer to long, generally cool, intervals during which glaciers advance and retreat, we are still in one today. Our modern climate represents a very short, warm period between glacial advances. Glacial advance and retreats are caused by a number of conditions created by natural phenomena. Among them are Plate Tectronics, changes in the Earth's orbit, Uplift of Continental Blocks, and Reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere.

During the Cenozoic period, which began about 70 million years ago and continues today, evidence derived from marine sediments provide a detailed, and fairly continuous, record for climate change. This record indicates decreasing deep-water temperature seemed to correspond with the build-up of continental ice sheets. Much of this deep-water cooling occurred in three major steps about 36, 15 and 3 million years ago - the most recent of which continues today. During the present ice age, glaciers have advanced and retreated over 20 times, often blanketing North America with ice. Our climate today is actually a warm interval between these many periods of glaciation. The most recent period of glaciation, which many people think of as the "Ice Age", was at its height approximately 20,000 years ago, when the great Laurentide Ice Sheet covered much of North America and Northern Eurasia.

The era in which we now live is often termed the Holocene. That it dates back to the end of the Laurentide Ice Sheet's advance is no coincidence. The Holocene began 10,000 years ago and continues to the present. Throughout this period, the ice sheet that once covered North America, as far south as the Ohio River, has been in retreat. All one ever had to do to understand the speed of retreat was to visit some of the glaciers in Alaska where trail markers define the glacier boundraies over the past two centuries.

Recent studies based on Alpine and Coastal Glaciers in Alaska indicate that they are thinning at a rate double that previously believed. Greenlands Glaciers, on the other hand, are thinning at a much lower rate, and no one in the scientific community can explain why. If global warming were consistant, it would seem that glacial retreat would be more consistant, meaning that ice cap reduction is not based on a simple formula, nor entirely on "greenhouse" gases.
The famous, "greenhouse" gases - Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide - are increasing at a rate that is accellerated at a un-natural rate by industry and agricultural practices, but that is only one factor in the equation.

What must be understood is that the earth's environment is dynamic, never static and seldom predictable. Most geological theory is what we might term, "Monday Morning Quarterbacking". That is scientists can read and comprehend the past and speculate what caused events to occur, but no one seems capable of predicting what changes current events may bring by way of future changes.

The most dangerous condition global warming might bring is a drastic rise in sea levels. Kansas, after all was once the bottom of a shallow sea. Continental block rising may prevent that from happening again, but Oklahoma could be a lot closer to the beach in a millenium or so. Of course rising sea levels would sure as heck cure the Florida voting dilemmas - There would be NO Florida....

Now, it is simple to blame the warming trend on Industry, or cattle farting, or forest clearing, but that doesn't explain all of it away. You see, to the best of my recollection, there were no paper mills, steel plants or fossil fuel generating plants around 10,000 years ago when this all began.

As the ice cap retreated, more and more of the continental land mass began to warm, causing more melting and retreating. Twenty to ten thousand years ago, the oceans were 600 feet less deep than they are today. Perhaps the Tuna and the Marlin know that, and that is why they remain offshore of those old shorelines. Scientists estimate that the earth has gained approximately one degree F in average temperatures over the past century. Now some of that can certainly be attributed to greenhouse gas accumulation, but not all.

Global warming has not only raised temperatures, it has raised a heck of a lot of funds for environmental groups over the past four decades. Have you ever noticed that all the ads run by Greenpeace and other groups, and the literature we receive in the mail from those organizations always comes with a donation form? I agree with our Government's refusal to sign the accords mentioned in Cecil's post. They are just lip service of the highest beauracratic form in the first place. You see, man's population has out paced our capability to repair the damage caused by production of the goods and services required by the billions humans on this planet.

When the alarmists crow about cures which exist, it is tantamount to reading the old Popular Science magazines. Both tell of things to come, largely based on theory, but neither addressed the practicality of application, let alone production. The same folks who yammer about the current debt, don't stop to think that there are not enough resources on earth to cure the problem as long as population growth remains unchecked.

Indianapolis Power and Light in Cecil's home state has a generating plant on the Ohio River, near Louisville Kentucky. The plant, "Marble Hill", was to be one of the first in America to use Stack Scrubbers to clense the effluent emmisions caused by burning thousands of tons of coal. The U.S. Government pitched in funds to the pork pie project, until nearly a billion dollars had been spent on the experiment. When our citizen's environmental group did a white paper study on air quality in the Ohio River Valley (Save the Valley, Gaither, Cochran, et al, 1973), we found that the most efficient those scrubbers had ever been was around 60% and that was for short terms, and not during continuous operation. Saying that something can be done about greenhouse gases and doing it are widely separated by many chasms, one of which is the lack of capital and resource in emerging nations.

It is easy to blame President Bush, but before we do that, let's blame ourselves for the lack of willingness to sacrifice luxury and ease for the good of earth. Like Paul Erlich once said, "The overload on earth's resources can be compared to the cake at a birthday party. If you order a cake for twenty people and five hundred show up, no matter how thinly you slice it, there just won't be enough to go around."

Global warming is a fact. Greenhouse gases are not myth. The accumulated effects are not going to be reversed by the Toyko Treaty, or any other treaty, for that matter, and that too is fact. Blaming our current President for a condition which began 10,000 years ago, and has been advanced by the poor environmental practices of dozens of empires and 42 other Presidents in this Nation, is like cursing ancient ferns for the coal fire spark that burns your belly.

Wise men once said that once Third World nations figure out that they ain't going to get a piece of that birthday cake, all H*ll will break loose. Maybe George Bush is smart enough to try and avoid that clash of civilizations.


This response submitted by John M on 11/24/04 at 12:34 PM. ( )

I stand in awe, thank you Cur. That was great, and no cut and paste.

real bummer cecil...........

This response submitted by Randal R. Waites on 11/24/04 at 12:37 PM. ( )

That's a real bummer Cecil, it's kind of like, when all the virgin trees were cut off, and the truck was invented, my grandfather had to quit logging, and could not pass on the old saw and horse ways to me. Hell everyone was going to starve to death, until someone told them to get off their asses, and pull them stumps with them horses, and then till that land with them horses, and then tractors, then a whole new economy was opened up, and as they say, the rest is history. I don't know why people always have to look at change, for what ever reason, or cause as bad, as the end of the world. Maybe the end of an era, but that has been going on since GOD set this planet in motion.

The real bummer is, I still have to listen to your liberal tribe.


This response submitted by George on 11/24/04 at 12:55 PM. ( )

You just went and posted incontrovertable facts for Mike and Mellonhead and now they'll start calling us names again. GEEZ. They used to say that there's no fool like an old fool, but that was before they came up with the term "environmentalists". They ought to be out shooting the damned snow geese that are destroying the tundra instead of sucking on tofu popsicles.

Couldn't be said better!

This response submitted by Ken Walker on 11/24/04 at 2:53 PM. ( (^) )

Mas extinctions of the past prove that we will NOT have the last word when it comes to mother nature.Climate change of the past was severe without the over-burning of Mammoth dung.The evolution of the Sun itself is going to burn this world to a crisp!Very well put Cur.


This response submitted by Cecil on 11/24/04 at 5:09 PM. ( )

I said the following: "Whether you think the warming phase is generated by man, PART OF A NATURAL CYCLE, or as I do a little of both, is BEYOND THE POINT. I FOUND THIS ARTICLE INTERESTING! The fact that the natives are seeing wildlife they have not seen before in their lifetime, and don't have names for them in their language is quite interesting if you ask me.

Did I say I thought this was absolutely due to global warming due to man? Did I blame it on Bush? Noooooo!

If some of you could get off of your ritual slamming of me and blaming everything on the "liberals" you might have a clue of what the intent of the copy and paste was.

I guess I should have put my statements in the beginning! LOL


This response submitted by John M on 11/24/04 at 5:28 PM. ( )

I found it interesting as well.

Cecil, I fear thou protests too loudly

This response submitted by George on 11/24/04 at 6:38 PM. ( )

I didn't see you castigated for the post, but I do see you ducking. Maybe it's the liberalism in you that you must defend, but certainly not in the posts. The true shame of what YOU read and what Bill Gaither wrote is that the one you read has no history, just knee jerk reactions while Bill's is built on a pyramid of both history and theory that has proven to be true thus far. The timbre of the post was the dramatic changes necessary in indigent Eskimo languages, but the underlying topic was what the ACIA and the Kyoto protocol.

I know you don't own a dictionary, but even if you did, why would you ever need 1200 words to describe what a reindeer was? LMAO.

I give up George!

This response submitted by Cecil on 11/24/04 at 7:39 PM. ( )

What a waste of time! LOL


This response submitted by Doug on 11/24/04 at 7:59 PM. ( )

Cur, the scientific nature of the information in your reply seems (to me) to suggest Darwin's theory. Those who believe the bible would challenge figures you used such as 3 million to 70 billion years ago, as well as events that hypothetically occurred then. In any postings(now in the archives) that implied Darwin's theory as a working explanation, Christian fundamentalists were quick to criticize such information as incorrect. Care to comment on this issue?

The only ice age I know of is between my wife and I when

This response submitted by jimmy on 11/25/04 at 2:08 AM. ( )

I nicked the skunk gland two weeks ago.

Doug and Cecil

This response submitted by cur on 11/25/04 at 2:53 PM. ( whatever )

Cecil, I didn't cite you re Bush, I cited the article which stated that his administration refused to sign the accord treaty.....


Well, the linear geologic history of earth's development has nothing to do with Darwin, Scope's Monkeys, or simian/hominid clading. Darwin's experience was drawn largely on personal observations during the voyage of the Beagle, when many varied forms of extant species were observed. The Galapagos Finches vary greatly from island to island in the archepelago, but they are all genetically linked. Now Darwin had no clue about even the existence of DNA, RNA, the NFL or the ASCPA, his observations were based on morphology diversities and foraging differences among the various Finch species found.

Flightless cormorants, lava lizards and marine iguanas and other species discovered, coupled with other observances made during his studies, led him to postulate a theory of direct, linear evolution of forms - even across familia lines. We know now that while his observations were accurate and that he helped lead science into new thought pathways, many of his concepts,theories and postulates were inaccurate.

Actually you can thank Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryon for the great clash between Darwin's Theory and the Creationist Theory outlined in Genesis. The infamous "Scopes Monkey Trial" in Tennessee led both sides of that argument to make outlandish charges and by way of publicity led the public to believe it was about Man versus God. Few of the plaintiffs actually understood Darwin's dialog, and fewer still had read it. The press made more statements and led more folks far from the beaten path that the plaintiffs chose.

In fact, to my knowledge, and I have read all of Darwins works and abstracts, I do not recall Darwin, himself, ever challenging either the Lord God, Genesis, or Judeo/Christian beliefs. Darwin never actually claimed that man descended directly from apes, but that man evolved, just as had the Finches on Santa Maria. (I find it interesting that Darwin's observations began on an arcane group of islands, most of which are named after Saints or biblical locations. Of course the species which developed there had no clue that the ground they trod was named after the mother of Jesus Christ or another holy person.

No one can deny the dynamics of natural selection, Darwin's term, and now called, "Chance and Necessity". Geological records are distinct and reportable. Man's graphic record begins at the caves in France more than 55,000 YP (Years before Present), and marches in a direct and traceable line until today. The evidence is not refutable.

Creationists have their points too, and some are hard to explain away, but the time lines of history and geology are as solid as the granite in which they are written. One thing that always amazed me about Genesis is that the Lord begins things by creating light. A Photon, a particle of light, is one of the most base energy forms known to man. How did the ancients know that? The description of the Creation pretty much follows the complexiety of Familial lines, with little exception. I had always heard that a "Day" to God was equal to eons of human time - that is the way Christians used to explain away the gulf between written record and geologic time. That was good enough for me. Who came up with this six millenium time frame for the whole shebang to happen is a mystery to me.

I have among my friends, three PHd, ordained ministers, and one well educated Catholic Priest. Not once has any of them ever espoused a belief in a literal translation of Genesis. Biblical scholars largely believe that the bible is mostly hyperbole, and is writen so as to be understood and accepted by all who read the words.....even a child.

Little did Charles Darwin realize that his humble observations and published theory would kick off a war of words that would last until 2004. A lot of folks I meet lead me to believe that Darwin was wrong.....we are not marching ahead, some folks are backing up.

Appreciate the reply!

This response submitted by Doug on 11/25/04 at 7:43 PM. ( )

"Biblical scholars largely believe that the bible is mostly hyperbole.." will surely raise the eyebrows of From reading posts/replies on here that quote verses from the KJ version, it seems that more than a few taxidermists believe in the exact words of scripture. That was a point I was getting at by asking for your comment. Without the existence of great amounts of time required for minute variations within species to accumulate into differences on the genus level and up, Darwin's theory would never have become one of the foundations of modern biology that it is. Neglectng the factor of time in Darwin's theory is what leads to statements like "I never saw a fish turn into a frog."(LOL) Geological evidence verified that such tremendous time periods were a part of the earth's history. Unless one chooses to interpet "day" in the bible to mean eons of time, it is mighty hard to reconcile Darwin's theory with the bible. I read last week that there is a movement in Georgia to ban the word "evolution" from all biology books. HMMMmmmm...

Population Growth

This response submitted by Mike on 11/29/04 at 10:30 AM. ( )

Sorry for letting this slide so long, hunting season is just over here and I haven't seen this post for a week. It sure is nice to see that Cur is back, as always a pleasurable read. As I stated seeing how the scope of the experiment we are now undertaking is global, it is very difficult to pin point a cause. I hope you are correct in your ascertions that current climatic trends are just that. But as I you stated, the Birthday cake isn't getting any bigger but the guests keep arriving. And that is where the problem lies.

I also enjoyed reading your interpretation of the Bible and views on Darwinism. I taught AP Biology and Biology in High School and taught evolution. Removing the word evolution from textbooks would be a great big step in the wrong direction. I find it very ironic for a religion based on embracing others and loving your neighbor that there is sometimes little room for difference in opinion. Surely there must be larger, more pressing threats than teaching a scientific theory in the classroom. Science is based on proof, whereas religion relies largely on faith. Science is constantly changing, much like our dynamic earth. If somehow a religious explanation is substiuted for the evolutionary theory, which religion's explanation should we choose? It is important in science education to impress upon students the nature of scientific evidence, scientific change and the way science works. Can you imagine the outcome of a scientific study if faith was allowed to influence to results?
My point is that scientists do not believe in evolution, they accept it or reject it, and move on. What a scientist personally believes is his/her choice based on their personal understanding of the world, which should be the choice of everyone. Why should we feel threatened to give students a choice when presented with the scientific understanding of how the world and its inhabitants have changed over time?

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