Rex Holwell has spent his life on the sea ice that forms each winter off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in eastern Canada. Like other Inuit, he learned to hunt seals and fish from his father and other men. They would skim over the sea ice, first on dog sleds and then, by the time Holwell started accompanying them, on gasoline-powered skidoos. Holwell wants this life – and freedom – for his children.
Climate change is about to upend it all.
“It’s going to be a loss of culture,” says Holwell. “They’ll identify as Inuit and so will their children, but they won’t have the same experiences."
A little later he heads out on his skidoo, flying across the sea ice like a giant tundra bumblebee in the brief sub-Arctic spring – joyful, free, with no question of his place in the world.
Opening the throttle, he speeds toward the horizon where the geese and seals are, deeply certain that his tiny Inuit town on the edge of the sea ice matters, and that now the rest of the world knows it too.
Melissa Renwick was one of the winners of Reuters Yannis Behrakis Photojournalism Grants. See another story by a winner here Nyancho NwaNri.
(Photography and reporting by Melissa Renwick; Writing by Clare Baldwin; Graphics by; Photo editing by Gabrielle Fonseca Johnson; Text editing by Katy Daigle and Lisa Shumaker; Layout by Marta Montana Gomez)