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Marine Resource 2016

Book Review- The New Northwest Passage

by Nancy Knudsen on 17 Apr 2012
A story of adventure sailing and the effects of climate change .. .
In the summer of 2009 Cameron Dueck and the rest of the crew of the 40ft cutter-rigged fibreglass sailing boat Silent Sound completed a journey made by fewer people than have climbed Everest; they sailed through the infamous Northwest Passage. These waters are normally locked in ice, but due to climate change it is now possible to sail here for a few short weeks each summer.

Sail-World followed the voyage of Silent Sound through the famous/infamous Passage with many articles during their long voyage.

Their voyage from Victoria to Halifax carried them through raging storms and mechanical breakdowns and took them into sea ice that threatened to crush their hull. But more importantly it brought them face to face with modern Arctic life in tiny, isolated Inuit communities where the challenge of climate change is added to the already crushing load of social and eco­nomic woes.

Each person they met along the way added their story to the colourful tale of life in the Arctic; a unique place where the cli­mate change experience is affected by the critical and ongoing debates over sovereignty, resources and cultural assimilation.

The New Northwest Passage, published by Great Plains Publications, tells this story. Dueck describes climate change, political and economic challenges faced by Inuit communities, while putting the entire story in the historical context of Arctic exploration.

This book will capture the imagination not only of all cruising sailors, but also of any armchair adventure, combining a route of historical importance with a personal storytelling style that offers a glimpse of the determination and inspiration needed to tackle such feat.

Their goal was to sail the passage unassisted and learn more about how the Inuit are coping with climate change.

Each hunter, teenager, community leader and scientist Cameron met long the way added their story to the colourful tale of life in the Arctic – all told in the context of climate change.

In each port Cameron met someone who dashed his romantic notions of Inuit life and instead showed him that while they live in a very unique place, they don’t live in a different time.

The Inuit share many of the fads, concerns and conveniences of southern urban life – making their interaction with climate change all the more relative for readers. Using his voyage as the narrative tool, Cameron tells the story of modern Arctic life and how debates over sovereignty, mineral resources and cultural assimilation are all part of the climate change experience for the Inuit.

Just published this year, the book, if not available in your local book store or favourite online facility, is available by http://www.greatplains.mb.ca/buy-books/the-new-northwest-passage/!clicking_here.

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