September 20, 2012 – Greenland, Land of Ice and Opportunity: Pictured above, Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, is surrounded by fjords filled with icebergs and whales. Though it is geographically closest to northern Canada, Greenland is a self-governing nation in the Kingdom of Denmark, populated by Inuit people.
Nuuk is undergoing a construction boom as people move from Greenland’s coastal villages to the capital. The warming climate has expanded the possibility of oil and mineral exploitation in the region, so foreign companies and officials have been recently flocking to the Greenlandic capital.
A central square in Nuuk is home to a supermarket and a growing variety of stores selling items like electronics and designer furniture.
Despite the prospect of future prosperity, Greenland remains poor, with a high youth unemployment rate. It relies heavily on a large annual block grant from Denmark for survival, although that money is being phased out. The old public housing complex in the background here is abandoned and slated for demolition.
New housing developments are cropping up all over Nuuk, their design reflecting Scandinavian influence. There has been much intermarriage between Greenland’s native Inuit population and Danes, and many Greenlanders go to Denmark for higher education.
Nuuk stays light in summer until close to midnight and even later. Here, children play around 11 pm.
A girl in a sealskin suit came ashore with her family. There are no roads between settlements in Greenland. Instead, travel between the towns that dot the periphery of the island takes place by boat or, in winter, by snowmobile or dogsled.
Water and icebergs are visible from many parts of Nuuk. Whales can be seen in the nearby fjord.
In the craggy mountains just up the fjord from Nuuk, a Greenlandic company called NunaMinerals has found gold. Its geologists were mapping the deposit this summer, the only time of year when there is no snow cover and it is warm enough to work at the site. (Credits: Narrative and Pictures – Andrew Testa for The New York Times.)
The Master of Disaster