Cree Elder Sounds Off On Climate Change

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 at 15:25



An elder from Deschambault Lake worries some scientists are ignoring what he feels are clear signs that climate change is occurring in the North.


Oscar Beatty is one of about two dozen northerners who attended a meeting on climate change last week in La Ronge.


The gathering was hosted by government scientists and marked the conclusion of three years of consultation hearings involving Cree and Dene elders.


Beatty says the meeting was informative, but notes that at least one of the experts in attendance took the position that global warming and the effects associated

with it are occurring naturally and that the same type of environmental trends took place thousands of years ago.


Beatty says he worries some academics don’t see the types of changes northerners do – like the recent disappearance of the night hawk.


Beatty adds the rough grouse and the spruce chicken are two other birds that have become noticeabley absent since his younger years.


He also says jackpine white moss is harder to come by, something eaten by caribou.


As well, Beatty says more sunlight tends to hit the ground in the forest these days — making the forest floor less resistant to forest fires. He blames that on quick spring thaws which leave branches without snow or leaves for longer stretches of time.


Beatty says he realizes industry is important, but he wonders why pollution and other negative by-products of it are being excused by those in power.