Principle #6: Humans are a part of the Polar system. The Arctic has a rich cultural history and diversity of Indigenous Peoples.

  • 6B-1: Weather patterns – large dips in the jet stream can sweep cold air into lower latitudes where billions of people live.
  • 6B-2: Climate change- air and ocean temperature changes at the Poles affect people around the world through global ecosystem changes.
  • 6B-3: Food webs- loss of sea ice and a warming ocean is disrupting fisheries across the globe.
  • 6B-4:  Loss of sea ice is resulting in greater coastal erosion during winter storms.
  • 6C-1: Receding sea ice is affecting animals that depend on ice cover (fish, polar bears, walruses, seals, humans).
  • 6C-2: Species are migrating and/or declining, affecting the people who depend on those terrestrial and aquatic species for food, clothing, and other uses – and larger ecosystem implications. Importing goods to these regions is very expensive which significantly increases costs, so many Arctic residents depend on hunting and fishing for food.
  • 6C-3: Thawing permafrost is damaging homes, roads, pipelines, buildings and ecosystems.
  • 6C-4: Coastal villages in Alaska are particularly prone to the effects of coastal erosion and storm surge during winter storms.  Some entire villages are relocating.
  • 6C-5: Forest fires are on the rise in the Arctic impacting chemical and biological cycles.
  • 6D-1: Native knowledge of Polar Regions contributes to the understanding of natural ecological cycles and the impacts of climate change on the system.
  • 6D-2: Traditional knowledge has proven essential for subsistence harvesting and for sustainable management of natural resources.

Scientist Spotlight

Related Resources

  • Polar Data Stories – Interactive online actives featuring cool Polar research and data.
  • I.D. Antarctica – Photographic mysteries of Antarctic animals for students to investigate.
  • Project Swarm – A curriculum of lessons and data activities for middle and high school students featuring the influences of warming on the food web interactions between phytoplankton, krill and penguins

The Polar Literacy Principles outline essential concepts to improve public understanding of these critical and sensitive ecosystems.