Aasiaat (which means “Spiders”)
Nuuk (the capital)
Qaanaaq (where the Inuit people removed by the builders of Thule Air Base were relocated)
Uummannaq (“Heart-Shaped”, referring to the mountain behind the town)
|A game of football in Uummannaq|
From time to time, I develop obsessions with places – especially cold places. A couple of years ago, it was Svalbard. Now I’ve got Kalaallit Nunaat, aka Greenland, on the brain. It’s a country I very much doubt I’ll ever visit – it would be hard to find a justification for the greenhouse gas emissions entailed by doing so, especially given the effect that climate change is having on the country – but I have been poring over the Lonely Planet Guide to Greenland and the Arctic, and Gretel Ehrlich’s fascinating memoir This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland.
The paradoxical effects of climate change on Greenland – the way in which it is simultaneously disrupting the Inuit hunting culture of the north and opening up farmland in the south; the way in which increased outflows from Greenland’s vast central icecap are affecting land and sea alike; the Greenland administration’s search for income from the very forces, such as oil exploration, that are helping to destabilise their environment – are both fascinating and disturbing. But that’s a topic for another time: what I wanted to say here is that Greenlandic is a beautiful language that befits a beautiful country. Wouldn’t you rather live in Aasiaat than Spiders?