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Advanced Level Reading - Greenland

Average: 3 (7 votes)

Climate change is a huge issue, and in Greenland they are feeling the effects. This article is about the many changes that Greenland is experiencing and also gives the reader an insight into the local culture. There is a lot of rich vocabulary some beautiful imagery. See if you can decide which word fits in which gap and then let me know if there is any other vocabulary in the article which you would like explained.
Lesson by Caroline

Key Words


Polar Eskimos of north-west Greenland

In a far corner of Greenland, hope is fading with the language and sea ice.
Climate change, hunting controls and a new consumerism, _1_ the way of life of the Polar Eskimos of north-west Greenland. In the second of a series of dispatches, Stephen Pax Leonard reports from a community on the brink

The sun is slowly disappearing behind the _2_ towards Siorapaluk now it is gone midnight, leaving whale-shaped Herbert Island awash in crimson. It is mid-August and it is my very first evening in the settlement.

A couple of _3_ hunters invite me into their wooden, A-framed house and quiz me on who I am and what my purpose is here. Stepping over the narwhal blubber spread out on newspapers on the kitchen floor, I am channelled into the corner settee in the chaotic living room and introduced to the various ancestors whose photographs line the walls, one of whom travelled with Knud Rasmussen to Alaska. I am asked repeatedly if I am a Norwegian from Greenpeace. There is _4_ in the community about Greenpeace and the threat they pose to their hunting culture. One hunter told me that he will be waiting at the shoreline with his guns when they come.

In this closed, inward-looking society, the Polar Eskimos are sometimes _5_ of the outsider and the finger of blame is often pointed at the white man whose market capitalism, individualism and climate change are perceived as catalysts in the _6_ of their own traditional communal group culture, damaging social cohesion in the process.

The Polar Eskimos have always lived in _7_ with nature, taking from the sea and land what they need to survive. But global warming has upset the equilibrium and in a centralising Greenland left the future of the isolated settlements uncertain.

The Inuktun word for "winter" is "ukiuq" (the same word is used for "year" – presumably the two used to be more or less synonymous), and here, in the bosom of the Arctic, winter has now arrived. The cliffs to the east with their folds forming the shape of a granite accordion have previously been radiating hues of red and purple in the late evening summer sun, but are now uncompromisingly white. Now, the landscape and the sky form a patina of subtle blends of grey and white. Tilted-eyed huskies bay the rising gibbous, candles _8_ nervously behind frosted window pains and wooden sledges jounce over the snow-covered scree tracks.

Two weeks ago the sea was a gelatinous, viscous grey soup, but the snow-covered sea ice now stretches for a few kilometres away from the settlement, with the open sea visible in the distance. Cathedrals of ice sit like _9_ teeth from off-white gums – their passage through the Murchison Sound halted for several months. Two forgotten motorboats are frozen in place, the sea ice having closed in around them.

The temperature has _10_ and the battle is now on to heat the non-insulated wooden hut where I live. It is below freezing in the bathroom and I have on a number of occasions slept in sub-zero temperatures due to problems with the oil heater, losing already one computer to the cold. Each day is now colder than the last, and we are almost cloaked in 24 hour darkness too.

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