I would like to acknowledge that the lands which I depict in these images are not my home. This land and water belongs to the Inuit people of Canada and Greenland. I am grateful to have been welcomed onto their homelands and acknowledge the problematic nature of being a settler within this space. Climate change impacts us all, but not all equally.
Shifting baseline syndrome is an acclimatization to one's surroundings. In 1995, Daniel Pauly used this term to reference fisheries and the environment. In regards to our environment and climate change it means that each generation gets used to their current environment. For example, extreme weather, fires, floods and droughts are becoming commonplace. Forthcoming generations will know this as the reality and may have little understanding that the world was and could be different.
This exhibition is a collection of images gathered while documenting climate change through the North West Passage. These waters are between Kugluktuk, Nunavut and Greenland. They have a deep history of colonial conquest and now, once impassable due to ice, are open to commercial passage.
A decade has passed since this journey. Our world is on the brink of disaster with climate change and yet not much has changed. In fact it has gotten worse. The ice I documented is likely no longer there. The Arctic is melting twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet, which has an immense impact on the communities and ecosystems that rely on this land and water. As I traveled through this landscape I was struck by the lack of ice that I saw. Days passed and the water was still open. Then the first iceberg floated onto the horizon. It was almost the size of our ship. I wonder how long it lasted before being absorbed into the ocean? Will the next generation know a diverse environment with sea and glacial ice?
Baseline is an attempt to shift this narrative: to challenge us to change, to listen, to act.
Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for assistance with this project.