Friday, May 04, 2007

Climate Change and Suicide

Climate change gets the blame for a lot of things and sometimes I read an article and am somewhat perplexed.

In an ENN article today called "Arctic Leaders Blame Warming for Wolves, Suicide" the title and leader seem to suggest that global warming is causing rising levels of teenage suicide among the Inuit people of the Arctic.

There is clearly an issue with high teenage suicide - the question is how to measure the impact of climate change on Inuit suicide rates. Correlations, spurious or otherwise, seem to get everywhere.

As for the Wolves I will the reader to click on the link to read why wolves are turning ugly.

Arctic Leaders Blame Warming for Wolves, Suicide

Megan Alvanna-Stimpfle, who is from Nome, Alaska, and heads the Inuit Circumpolar Youth Council, said the change in climate undermined a supportive culture and may be one cause for suicide among the young.

"There's a high rate of youth suicide in Inuit villages and we think it's correlated to our loss of language and the ability to live healthily in isolated Arctic communities," Stimpfle said in the interview.

The youth council aims to revive Inuit culture, she said, "but it's complicated by the change in the climate, because people are unable to read the ice."

"Reading the ice" means relying on millennia of Inuit observation to determine when and where ice is safe, Stimpfle explained. The changing Arctic climate has undermined that traditional system, and some Inuit have fallen through ice in places where it used to be safe, she said.

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