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Disappearing Ice Age



Over the last century, adventurers have travelled to Greenland to explore this vast, frozen land. The pictures they brought back show hardy men battling against nature against the backdrop of a pristine wilderness. Today, however, few of us know much about life on the world's largest island where 57,000 people cling on to thin coastal strips that make up 15 % of the huge landmass which is permanently covered in a thick sheet of ice. Greenland is going through a period of rapid change. With the granting of self rule from Denmark, its former colonial power, in 2009 the Greenlandic government is reconfiguring, taking on more responsibilities in the running of the judicial system, policing and the administration of natural resources. Rising temperatures are melting glaciers and thawing parts of the country that have until recently been locked in permafrost while changing weather patterns are disrupting sea life and threatening traditional livelihoods like fishing and seal hunting.

Many isolated settlements which are largely dependent on hunting and fishing for their survival are now increasingly becoming unviable and the younger generation is leaving for larger settlements in search of work. In some parts of the country the receding ice sheet has uncovered previously inaccessible resources including oil, gas, uranium and rare earth which has piqued the interest of international mining giants but many Greenlanders are worried about the environmental impact of large scale mining and the influx of foreigners engaged in construction projects. Aleqa Hammond, the current prime minister, Aleqa Hammond, is in favour of mining, keen wean the country of its 3.4 billion Danish kroner annual subsidy.

Over a period of 5 years and a number of trips, Andrea has visited small communities along the coast of Greenland, observing how Greenland's recent emergence from relative isolation is affecting traditional communities and their intimate family lives.
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