Although global warming has a negative impact for most of the planet, some are finding that it has some unexpected benefits. In the Arctic Valleys of Greenland, gardeners are finding that strawberries, thyme and tomatoes are thriving for the first time, and in other areas, reindeer are getting fatter and fatter as the grazing area expands. It all points to a new environment that may even help Greenland become more independent.
According to Scientific American, plants that have long been more comfortable in warmer climates are suddenly able to grow on land more familiar to glaciers and cold. People have planted everything from peppers to herbs. In places where planting has been successful in the past, the growing season has expanded by almost a month in some areas, and the formerly limited crops have expanded to include a whole new variety of fruits and vegetables that were previously unheard of.
Some hope that the changing climate will allow Greenland to grow more of its own food and graze more of its own livestock, which will ease the country’s dependence on Denmark. Thawing has also opened up the land for oil and mining exploration, further boosting the economy. Currently, the country relies on an annual grant of $600 million from Denmark.
However, Kenneth Hoegh, a former senior government advisor, cautions that the change needs to be viewed with the right perspective, and that not all have been good. “We used to be high Arctic and now we are more sub Arctic, but we are still Arctic,” he says. Warm and dry summers mean that irrigation may become necessary for the first time, and flooding has already caused damaged to local infrastructure. These points are reminders of global warming’s often damaging unpredictability.