On a sub-zero February morning, Rex Holwell mounted the snowmobile he rides every day to work, visit family, and run errands around Nain, a coastal town of 1,200 mostly Inuit residents in Labrador. That day he was headed on a 60-mile roundtrip to an area where many locals go to get firewood. Trailing behind his skidoo, as Canadians call it, was a sled with a mobile sensor that continually measured the thickness of the ice underneath him—to alert him when he might be in danger of falling through it.
Holwell is the northern production lead for SmartICE, a non-profit enterprise that pairs cutting-edge sensors and other technology with generations-old wisdom to help Inuit adapt to a warming planet. He manages