Two great transitions, from seal hunting to cod fishing, then from cod fishing to shrimp, affected population centers of southwest Greenland during the20th century. These economic transitions reflected large-scale shifts in the underlying marine ecosystems, driven by interactions between climate and human resource use. The combination of climatic variation and fishing pressure, for example, proved fatal to west Greenland's cod fishery. We examine the history of these transitions, using data down to the level of individual municipalities. At this level,the uneven social consequences of environmental change show clearly: some places gained, while others lost. Developments in 20th-century Greenland resemble patterns of human-environment interactions in the medieval Norse settlements, suggesting some general propositions relevant to the human dimensions of climatic change.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Hamilton, L., Lyster, P., Otterstad, O. Social change, ecology and climate in 20th-century Greenland. (2000) Climatic Change, 47 (1-2), pp. 193-211.