Sea and ice

CBC News
Sea and Ice CBC News Interactive | James Alexander Michie

Photo by Pascal Dumont

The Yamal Peninsula, is a peninsula that goes into the Arctic Ocean, located northwest of Siberia, in the autonomous district of Yamal-Nenets, in Russia. It is very close to the Guida Peninsula.

It should be noted that the Yamal peninsula, of some 120,000 km², is located approximately 700 km in the sea, in a south-north direction, bordered, to the west, by the Kara sea -in particular, the Bay area of Baydarátskaya- and to the east, by the waters of the long gulf of Obi. In the language of its indigenous inhabitants, the Nenets, “Yamal” means “end of the earth.”

Importantly, reindeer herding is the main livelihood of the 14,000 Nenets of the Yamal peninsula in Russia, a vast tundra that juts out into the Arctic Ocean some 2,500 kilometers northeast of Moscow.

The Nenets have followed the annual migration of reindeer in the region for thousands of years. Likewise, with solidly frozen soil for up to eight months of the year and winter minimums of -50 ° C, it can be one of the most inhospitable places on Earth.

Destructive humanity

Now, it is important to bring up a question and is that the unprecedented push to unlock the wealth of oil and gas in the Russian Arctic helped or hurt its people?. According to Maxime Okotetto, 19, who is a young reindeer herder, “For humans, it’s been Good. But for the reindeer, it’s bad”.

“We have less and less land — they took a large territory for the gas plant, and where there is gas [development], there’s nothing [for the reindeer] to eat”, said Okotetto.

There is no doubt that human activity quickly destroys the thin layer of moss and lichen on which reindeer graze. In fact, the inhabitants of Nenet lost grazing land not only for new construction projects but also for the vast network of infrastructure that comes with them: roads, pipelines and railway terminals that now cross the territory.

The Yamal plant to which Okotetto refers is one of the centers of the ambition of Russian President Vladimir Putin to unlock the riches of the polar region of the country. Likewise, while the Canadian government has banned the exploration of hydrocarbons on its Arctic side and declared climate change a national emergency, such considerations are absolutely absent in Russia.

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Source: Chris Brown | CBC News

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