Dale Kearney casts an eye on climate conscious documentary, A Greenland Story.

A massive problem facing the world today is climate change. There’s no one who could give you a more first-hand experience about it than the natives of Greenland who stare down this threat everyday. Forced to watch their ice sheet melt away year after year, while the likes of China and America only add fuel to the burning fire that is the earth. A Greenland Story takes us straight to the heart of the problem, interviewing the citizens of the country about what life is like at the epicentre of global warming.

Among the older generation, culture is extremely important. It lives in their heart right alongside the traditions and their history. For Magdalena, this comes in the form of heirlooms from her mother and grandmother. Why are they so important to her? “Because they have something to tell.” Her family tree consists of hunters and fishermen, common occupations amongst the natives of the land – a lifestyle that dates back many years with Inuit culture. This documentary not only appears to be in conversation with Nanook of the North from over a century ago, but would also play as a great double bill with the 1922 film. Using archival footage, Directors Marieke Lexmond and Vincent Monahan showcase these people and their culture, illustrating how important fishing has been to them in the past, and still is to this day; so important in fact, that they chose to leave the EU to keep their fishing rights. To put it simply, fishing is their livelihood.

There’s a divide between the younger generation and their elders. While the older Greenlanders are one with nature, the youth have a much stronger affinity towards technology. A case of traditions versus gadgets. Greenland also faces the issue of migration – with the youth travelling off-shore to further their education in countries such as Denmark. The conflict of missing home while living abroad struck one subject, Hanne Bruun, when she moved to the Netherlands. However, she has since returned home as she wishes for her children to experience the culture that Greenland gave to her when she was their age.

Despite an Irish crew travelling via boat – a choice that seems quite respectful towards Greenland by reducing their carbon footprint – they are largely absent from the story (except for a bit of narration), allowing the inhabitants of Greenland to speak for themselves. Instead of making their presence felt, the crew choose to point their cameras at the beautiful scenery and let the land also speak for itself.

Amongst the gorgeous icy vistas and mouth-watering shots of whales emerging from the sea – which would make ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ jealous – is a story about people who care for their history and environment. From Flaherty back in the 1900s with a black and white camera, all the way to modern day drones, we still see the same sense of community and the identical pride within Inuits. As one local states “We should look back at our history and [learn] from our ancestors.” If we all followed Greenland’s lead, maybe we wouldn’t have to fear about the devastation of climate change.

A Greenland Story has been broadcast on RTÉ, is available to view on the player now, and is available to view on Amazon Video in the UK and US.

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