Culture and climate change in the Arctic Ski boots worn by the Arctic Sami people of northern Norway. ( Don Hurlbert)
Culture and climate change in the Arctic
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It's hard to believe that people have been living in the Arctic for 40,000 years. How can people survive in such a harsh environment, and what would motivate them to stay?
 
Anthropologists who study Arctic cultures have discovered that it's quite a hospitable place for those who figure out how to get by. Hundreds of cultures have occupied the Arctic over time. These communities have adapted to life on the ice, inventing a variety of ways to get around and find the resources they need. Skis, dogsleds, reindeer, kayaks and snowmobiles have helped Arctic people connect with each other and the natural resources.
 
Natural resources that sustain Arctic life include huge concentrations of marine mammals such as bowhead whales and ringed seals and massive herds of land animals such as caribou. An Arctic mammal offers a full set of essential supplies, from clothing to food to cooking oils, plus bones to make tools or boat frames.
 
Both people and the wildlife they depend on are intimately connected to Arctic conditions. Small changes in temperature lead to large changes in sea ice, spurring migrations and adaptations of animals and people. For thousands of years, Arctic people have been adjusting to seasonal fluctuations and longer-term climate changes.
 
Find out more about how people in the Arctic adapt to changing conditions. Join us on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, for a Smithsonian Science How live webcast on Culture and Climate Change in the Arctic, airing at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST on the Q?rius website. Archaeologist Dr. Bill Fitzhugh from the National Museum of Natural History will appear live to discuss and answer questions. Get teaching resources to support your webcast experience.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Anthropologists who study Arctic cultures have discovered that it is quite a hospitable place for those who figure out how to get by. But that doesn't answer this question: What motivates them to stay?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (37)
  • dillont-bow
    10/28/2015 - 09:42 a.m.

    I think its their culture which keeps them motivated to stay. Also they are so used to the environment which means they enjoy where they live and presume to stay there the rest of their lives.

  • scotth-bow
    10/28/2015 - 09:43 a.m.

    I think they are motivated to stay because that is the only way they know how to live and that is how they have been living for 40000 years. They are comfortable and satisfied with their lives in the Arctic and have no reason to leave.

  • richardb-bow
    10/28/2015 - 09:44 a.m.

    I think they stay in the Arctic because they have been there for so long that's what they're use to. Not only that, but their ancestors were in the arctic so they might want to stay there because of that.

  • hunterh2-bow
    10/28/2015 - 09:44 a.m.

    Probably their culture and beliefs if one is born and adapted their. their is no reason why they should leave or want to.

  • grahamt-bow
    10/28/2015 - 09:45 a.m.

    The coldness and wildlife.

  • brisab-bow
    10/28/2015 - 09:45 a.m.

    I would love to live in a cold climates, there are many advantages as staying in a cool climate. One is you wont grow old as fast and I just love cold weather, maybe its a lot more peaceful but it could get lonely. What I think motivated them was the peacefulness and the fact that they wouldn't become dependable on technology.

  • calebh1-bow
    10/28/2015 - 09:45 a.m.

    I think that they just cant leave and are stuck on that island.

  • wyattj-bow
    10/28/2015 - 09:46 a.m.

    this was a very intresting article

  • hannahn1-bow
    10/28/2015 - 09:46 a.m.

    If I were a person who lived in the arctic, I would be motivated to stay because the beauty of the nature, the night sky, the aurora, and the animals. Enjoying the Beauty of God's creation.

  • ariyonj-bow
    10/28/2015 - 09:47 a.m.

    They are connected to the arctic conditions and have been living there for many years, they have adapted to the way of living its a hospitable place for those who figure out how to get by.The people there have invented many ways to get around and find the resources they need.

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