One of the most prominent members of the Inuit community is pleading for an end to the expansion of London’s third airport at Stansted.
Aqqaluk Lynge will present evidence of the increasing loss of Inuit villages and hunting grounds across the Arctic and link it to Britain’s cheap flight culture.
His testimony will be given to the public inquiry opening today into plans to dramatically increase the number of passengers using London’s third airport from 25 million to 35 million a year.
Mr Lynge argues that the effects of flying from Stansted, where 80 per cents of flights are on no-frills carriers and eight out of 10 passengers are travelling on holiday or for leisure, are felt far beyond Britain in the vast Inuit ice fields stretching from Russia’s Bering Straits to Greenland.
The Inuit politician, who is the head of Greenland’s indigenous population and the former president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, told The Independent newspaper: “When I was a boy in north Greenland, the sea ice formed in November. Now we don’t see it for months after that. All our certainties are being changed by global warming, from the location of hunting grounds to the loss of our homes to the rising sea.
“This is caused by pollution from the South. There is now a connection between our backyard and your backyard and we would like to you to question some points of your lifestyle such as flying and creating more emissions.
“That is why Stansted is important. Getting on a plane in England for a cheap holiday is felt here on the ice today and for you tomorrow. We are not even 160,000 people but global warming is not just threatened polar bears and melting ice. It is about our right to a viable existence.”