Today began the final component of the IGERT field course. After a few weeks of interdisciplinary field science in Kangerlussuaq and Summit, we are settled in to city life in Nuuk. Nuuk is no bigger than our hometown of Hanover, but is the capitol of Greenland, and a very vibrant city.
This morning we met with Pia Lynge and Lone Nukaaraq Moller, from the Agency of Culture, Education, Research, and the Church in Greenland’s Self Government. We discussed ideas for education outreach in Greenland, and how we as scientists could better communicate our science with Greenlanders. Why? Greenland is a hot-spot for research right now, but many scientists come and go without any interaction with the people. One of the goals of our IGERT program is to begin to reshape the way scientists and local communities interact. On Thursday we will present our research to the public at the cultural center in Nuuk. We hope this will initiate open lines of communication between Greenlanders and the IGERT students and set a precedent for research in Greenland.
In the afternoon we were very fortunate to visit the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC, http://www.inuit.org) and meet with Lene Holm and Aqqaluk Lynge.
Lene is the Director of Environment for ICC Greenland and Aqqaluk was recently elected chair of the ICC. The take home messages were plentiful. Lene suggested that “the art of bringing people together is what’s most important,” in reference to bulding relationships between scientists and residents of Greenland. Aqqaluk expressed how the coming years in Greenland will be very tough, with development pressure and climate change threatening Greenland’s natural resources and environment all while trying to maintain cultural integrity. He emphasized the importance of communication with Greenlanders and challeneged us, as early-career scientists, to connect our science to the needs of Greenlandic communities. Many thanks to Aqqaluk and Lene for spending the afternoon with us.