Greenland is a piece of land that is literally on top of the world. It is situated between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans near the North polar region. Known for being the world’s largest island, the land is an autonomous territory under the Danish Government. Greenland in the North pole and Antarctica in the South pole make up Earth’s polar ice caps. Now, the description “ice caps” mean that majority or almost all the landmass is covered in ice, which is true but there has been drastic changes in recent times. On one hand, these changes might seem beneficial to an extent, but the after-effects are very negative for humans.
Economy of Greenland: Fishery
Even though it is the largest island, the population is minimal and concentrated mostly near the coastal areas of the South of the landmass. As a result, it has a small economy, which is vulnerable mainly due to the extreme climatic conditions there. Also, a huge part of the capital inflow comes from the Danish Government.
Greenland is extremely dependent on its fish industry. It is the second-largest sector by employment. The commercial fishing fleet consists of approximately 5,000 dinghies, 300 cutters, and 25 trawlers. These figures makes a strong statement of the dependence on this industry. The world’s largest retailer of cold-water shrimp, Royal Greenland, is the driver of the fish processing industry.
In a rather controversial manner, Greenland also practices hunting wherein they kill seals and whales for their products. This has come under a lot of scrutiny over the years and as such, there have been restrictions on it.
Economy of Greenland: Agriculture
Agriculture has always been a low in terms of its contribution to the economy of Greenland, but situations are changing now. This is mainly due to climate change, as the growing season has lengthened in its duration – facilitating expanded production of grown crops. Official statistics state that the seasons are about three weeks longer than a decade ago. Potatoes are the principal crops, along with recent new additions like apple, strawberry, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and carrots. Even though the climatic change might create some advantages for agriculture, only 1% of the total land is considered arable.
A notable mention about animal husbandry practices will be valuable. People mainly rear sheep for meat consumption and wool export. They do so in farms, with the first farm established in 1906.
There are other sectors which contribute to the economy. Mining, energy and tourism are worth mentioning, alongwith the Governance sector. All of these sectors exist, of course, only because of the backing of Denmark.
Few Positives, Many Negatives
Climate change is a grave area of concern for us, and it must be. The few positives that might be seen on the surface of this iceberg of a problem, is merely an illusion.
Some positives may be the melting of the ice caps and exposing the mineral-rich unexplored land. These minerals are highly valuable and are necessary for development of greener energy sources, which will help in shifting from fossil to electric. That may help in overcoming the problem of burdening our environment with unwanted emissions and discharges. Also, the land may be used for increasing habitations if favorable climatic conditions arrive.
But the price of such positives is dauntingly high. The many negatives are comparable to the underwater portion of an iceberg, outnumbering the positives. The direct seen negative is increasing ocean water levels. This threatens to submerge many low-lying islands worldwide, leading to habitat loss. Not only that, climate change has led to many disasters around the world. These include earthquakes, unstable winds, decreased rainfall, wildfires and many more.
Now, time has come for us to decide what we want and how we see our future to be. Do we direct our ship towards the iceberg, or change course and save ourselves from disaster?