Director of the Labrador Institute of Memorial University | Canada Research Chair & Professor (2013-2016) | Researcher | Environmental Advocate | Royal Society of Canada College Member | Women for Nature Founding Member
Today, the Toronto Star published the second in a series of articles by Tyler Hamilton examining the many complex facets related to climate change and mental health, and featured our work in Nunatsiavut, Labrador.
Sometimes there are moments in life that change you, that alter you in ways that you can never really fully articulate… and that continue to teach you things years later. This research, and working with the Inuit communities in Nunatsiavut, Labrador, is one of the moments. Hearing the voices, experiences, and wisdom of the people with whom I work is humbling beyond belief. And dealing with, responding too, and hopefully mitigating the mental and emotional impacts of a rapidly changing climate and environment is something that continues, daily, to occupy my thoughts and drive my actions.
Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, an assistant professor of indigenous studies at Cape Breton University, said the connection between mental health and climate change in Canada’s North is growing stronger and in “urgent” need of further investigation.
“There’s this dialogue that’s just waiting to leap out into the national and international consciousness,” she said. “In Canada, we have this active fishing culture, active farming culture, and large Arctic indigenous groups who are on the front lines of climate change, yet we have been really quiet on this topic.”
This is indeed a national dialogue that needs to happen in this country, and we are in a time in this country that I believe there is a willingness and and ability to listen and to act.
Thank you to Tyler Hamilton for his excellent reporting, and for his interest in this topic. His work is making sure this information and these voices get out, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Today, an agreement is being tabled at COP21, calling on over 200 countries to sign on. As we continue these national and international dialogues, it is important to remember human impacts, including human suffering, distress, and psychological impacts.
I am pleased to share this new ebook feature through Adjacent Government that was just released to coincide with COP21. Click on the picture below to access the article.
Happy to have worked with a great group of students and colleagues on this paper, released through Open Access format on Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, critically examining community-based adaptation approaches within the Canadian North.
The abstract is below, but if you are interested in the full text, click here.
A feature on our research on climate change and mental health in Nunatsiavut has just reached full release, and I’m pleased to share the links here. Click on the photo below to access the article online, including the embedded documentary and hyperlinks, or to download a pdf copy. Alternatively, click here for a pdf copy.
In June, members of our research team from across Canada and the Circumpolar North converge in Oulu, Finland, for the International Congress of Circumpolar Health. It was a great Congress, full of interesting presentations, innovations, and Indigenous leadership, all focused on improving Circumpolar health and wellness.
Our team had a number of oral presentations and posters on topics related to Circumpolar health, including climate change and mental health, cultural mentorship programs for health and resilience, youth-identified protective factors in a changing climate, impacts of climate change on remote healthcare providers, analyzing trends in Circumpolar health literature, and Inuit knowledge and adaptation to climate change.
Cunsolo Willox, A. Shiwak, I., Wood, M., the IlikKuset-Ilingannet Team, and the Rigolet Inuit Community Government. (June 2015). IlikKuset-Ilingannet/Culture-Connect: Promoting Cultural-Based Youth Mentorship Programs to Support Mental Health & Resilience in Nunatsiavut, Labrador. International Congress of Circumpolar Health, Oulu Finland.
Cunsolo Willox, A., Shiwak, I., Wood, M., the IMHACC Team, and the Rigolet Inuit Government. (June 2015). Climate Change: The Next Challenge for Circumpolar Mental Health. International Congress of Circumpolar Health, Oulu Finland.
Jones, J., Cunsolo Willox, A., and Harpers, S. (June 2015). Bridging Dichotomies in Circumpolar Health Research: Initial Findings from a Systematic Realist Review. International Congress of Circumpolar Health, Oulu Finland.
Petrasek MacDonald, J., Cunsolo Willox, A., Ford, J., Baikie, M., Shiwak, I., the IMHACC Team, and the Rigolet Inuit Community Government. (June 2015). Youth-Identified Protective factors in a Changing Climate: Perspectives from Inuit Youth in Nunatsiavut, Labrador. International Congress of Circumpolar Health, Oulu Finland.
Budden, E., Cunsolo Willox, A., Wood, M., the IMHACC Team, and the Rigolet Inuit Community Government. (June 2015). Climate Change Impacts on Remote Health Care Providers in Northern Canada: A Case Study from Nunatsiavut, Labrador. International Congress on Circumpolar Health, Oulu, Finland.
Petrasek MacDonald, J., Ford, J., Chatwood, S., Cunsolo Willox, A., Edge, V., Farahbakhsh, K., Furgal, C., Harper, S., Mauro, I., Pearce, T., and Stephenson, E. (June 2015). Inuit Traditional Knowledge for Adapting to the Health Effects of Climate Change. International Congress on Circumpolar Health, Oulu, Finland.
Jen Jones in action.
Ashlee Cunsolo Willox & Inez Shiwak on climate change and mental health in the Circumpolar North.
The TEDx Cape Breton videos are now live! Happy to share a link to my talk on the impacts of climatic and environmental change on Inuit lives, livelihoods, and wellbeing in Nunatsiavut. Thanks to all who pulled this together!
As part of our induction into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists, each member had to make a video highlighting their work. I was lucky enough to use footage from my work up in Nunatsiavut, Labrador for the visuals. Thanks to Herbie Sakalauskas from Cape Breton University for the amazing editing prowess!