Spring 2023

Kaniq Allerton, Denise Campbell, Sean Caza, Tinuoluwa Egbuna, Angel Egeni, Amsden Faulks, Maren Hayward, Morgan Abel Plunkett, Wasi Abdur Rahman, and other Inuksuk High School students who wish to remain anonymous

Camera and editing by VDOpro.ca

Produced and directed by Devora Neumark

Special thanks to Samantha Abbott and Cheryl O’Keefe

Neumark, Devora. "Performance Art: Harnessing performance art for empowering youth voices and navigating climate emotions", The Ecopsychepedia. Rollins, C (Ed.). https://ecopsychepedia.org/glossary/performance-art/. November 14, 2023.

Letters to the Ice is a participatory project that was initially commissioned by the Walkabout Theater Company. During the first iteration (in the winter of 2021), I invited people from around the world to engage directly with the grim reality that global ice loss is currently catching up to the worst-case scenario predictions.

In this second iteration, I collaborated with a group of Inuksuk High School students and their teachers over a period of four months. During this time, we explored the significance of performance art that addresses climate change and spoke about why and how letter writing matters.

“Letters are radical devices because of their intimacy. In an age of cynicism and cynicism’s cousin sarcasm, letters – personal, intentional – are wrought out of a posture of authenticity; [they] are about having membership in the existences of others and are fundamentally about community.”

— Micah Conkling, 2016.

Writing and reading personalized letters to the ice matters not only because of the authenticity of voice that comes through in these offerings, but also because the letters speak to the agency of individuals and the power of the collective in the face of the climate crisis.

Here are the students' letters.

Dear my dear Ice,

I am thankful that you have visited us again this year! <3 I apologize for all the people that don’t have any feelings for you. This winter passed so quickly that I didn’t have time to visit. I wish I was there for you when you were in danger.

Global Warming. Global Warming worries me. I’m worried for you. I want to hurt for you. I’m afraid that you might never visit us again. That would make me wonder why us humans don’t care about you.

I now want to talk about your natural beauty. Your beauty makes me warm hearted every single time I see you. You look beautiful, covering the Bay of Iqaluit, with your shining, blue crystal icy colour. Every time I see you filled with waste, garbage, toxic product, it makes me angry, sad, and frustrated. It makes me feel every single negative emotion. A streak of fear strikes through my thoughts, my mind, everything.

Every time I take a walk on you, I take a chunk of ice and I think that you, YOU will always, always have a place inside me. Probably not the top 20-30, but certainly you still have a place in my heart. I don’t care if you don’t want me. There might be a new discovery out there, which will make us feel like smaller pieces of shit.

I will always, always want to be here with you. I WILL ALWAYS WANT TO BE HERE WITH YOU AT THIS EXACT SAME MOMENT. I will always want to be present with you. Thank you for all your presence with us on planet Earth.

I deeply love you for all the things you have given us. Thank you for EVERYTHING <3.

— Kaniq Allerton
Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dear Ice,

You are one of the most fascinating and awe-inspiring parts of the natural world. You take many forms and can be found all over the planet, from the icy poles to the depths of the ocean.

Your beauty is undeniable. When the sun shines on you, you sparkle and shine like diamonds. When the light fades, you take on a serene blue hue that is both calming and mesmerizing.

But your impact goes beyond just your looks. You play a crucial role in regulating the Earth’s climate, reflecting sunlight back into space and helping to keep the planet cool. You also provide a home for countless species of animals, from the polar bear to the penguin.

Thank you for being such an important part of our world.

— Anonymous
Iqaluit, Nunavut

A living source of life, quickly dying out
big glaciers crashing into that deep blue sea
makes me feel like my heart is being sucked into a big black hole.
You were our everything, our life,
and here you stand still among the crashing waves of the shore.

The creation of the earth according to the Bible,
says that there was only water, no land
there was only water and ice, that very thing we need to survive.

You were better off without us,
we are the ones hurting the environment,
all we can do is kill and destroy everything that was given to us.
We would not be able to survive without you
if we leave this earth, things will finally be set straight,
you will not have to worry about our destruction anymore.

You are like a lamp that has lost its light,
a star that has lost its shine.
Seeing you in this state makes me grieve,
it’s as if I can almost hear your screams at night,
your plead for help although no one listens.

Soon enough, this will all be over,
and you will soon be at peace.

— Tinuoluwa Egbuna
Grade 9 Student at Inuksuk High School
Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dear ice,

I’m writing this letter because of how I mistreated you earlier, and how I criticized you before. Over the years, people have melted you, ate you, turned you into water, and broke you.

In Nunavut, we have global warming causing climate change.

When I think about global warming, I feel very frustrated about it. The temperature is 0 degrees outside today and the sun was out. Today is spring so the ice must melt. One more month until June and you will go away for a couple of months until winter.

I just want to make sure that you stay safe and strong.

Angel Egeni
Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dear ice,

I am writing this letter to you because if I had noticed that you were melting faster than ever before, I would’ve helped you. Global warming is really affecting Nunavut. Most of our snow and ice is melting quickly. It’s sad. It’s zero degrees outside when it’s still supposed to be in the negatives. The polar bears and the seals will have no place to hunt or rest when you are melting so fast. The sea level is slowly rising, causing floods. The land I used to walk on is getting covered up by water. The glaciers are melting when they are not supposed to. Humans are worried about you, but most think global warming is a joke. I will continue to try and bring awareness to global warming and melting glaciers. I will do something about this. Don’t worry ice. Stay strong for the animals and the Inuit.

Denise Campbell
Iqaluit, NU Canada

Dear Ice,

Every year I await your return. You show up on my doorstep on a chilly October day. You’re looking for a place to stay for a little while. I always try to greet you with warmth despite you being so cold. You never come emptyhanded either. With your presence, you bring gifts of unexplainable serenity. Despite being away for so long, we immediately reconnect. When we get to talking, childhood memories of skating and sliding with you are quick to remerge. In the vast darkness of winter, you are a familiar face. A friend. I’m lucky to even be able to say that. You don’t visit just anyone. But you don’t stick around forever. You wax and wane like the moon and I find myself saying goodbye once again. But lately your visits have been getting shorter. Why don’t you stay longer this year? I’d just love to have you around more I’ll even try to be as accommodating as I can. I’ll put the AC down low and make sure the freezer is fully stocked. Think about it and know you are welcome here anytime.

Your friend always,
Maren Hayward

Dear Ice,

I want to say thanks for being by my side and everyone else’s side too. Thank you for keeping my drink cold on hot days and eating also melting you once I was done my drink. Thank you for keeping the world cooler with your ice from the south to north pole and all over the world. Thank you ice for letting me bag you and placing you on my forehead as I was under the weather.

— Morgan Abel Plunkett
Iqaluit, NU

Dear Ice,

I am writing this letter to you because I was told by my science teacher, Samantha, and Devora who organized this project for my class. Personally, I don’t really think too much about you, but I believe you have a big impact on the environment around me, especially in Nunavut. Many northern species such as the polar bear and the seal depend on your presence for food, shelter, and adaptation. If you are affected it can affect them, and consequently the people who depend on those animals (mostly the northern communities the Inuit).

Not a lot of people realise that you are also a natural healer for diseases and help with swelling and inflammation of the body. Whenever I had an injury in the past, and I needed your help, I would like to say thank you. You were also able to cool me down whenever I was too hot in the summer or even the winter. Again, I would like to say thank you. People can also play fun games on you such as speed skating, hockey, or any winter games.

I have come to believe people need to start thinking about you even more because you come with a lot of benefits, and many people depend on you. With enough awareness we wouldn’t see you go too soon.

Wasi Abdur Rahman
Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dear Ice.

I am writing this letter to you because, you are very important to me. In the place where I live you surround me for 9 months of the year. But each year you’ve been coming later and leaving earlier. A lot of us people in the north need you for daily living, even the animals need you to hunt their prey and to get their food.

I want to thank you for all the things that you have done. Whenever I get a bruise, you help me with the swelling, and me and my friends have a lot of fun using our snow mobiles on you.

I’m sorry that this is happening to you, and I hope you get better in time.

— Anonymous
Iqaluit, Nunavut




— Sean Caza
Iqaluit, Nunavut


The Ice is melting.
We must stop it right away.
It will be gone soon.

— Amsden Faulks
Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dear ice,

I want to thank you for all the things that you do for us.
Without you I wouldn’t be able to go skidooing as much and go to as many places.
Without you we wouldn’t be able to go and play on the crunchy ice.
Without you I wouldn’t be able to see all the icicles around my house and window.
Without you we wouldn’t be able to nearly slip in our driveway when going into our car or truck.
Without you it wouldn’t feel like Christmas if there were no ice sculptures.
In many ways the world would have a missing void without ice. Ice is a huge part of many animals’ habitats, as well as used for so many things.
I’m saying thank you ice for all you provide.

— Grade 9 Student
Inuksuk High School
Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dear Ice,

Without the ice, polar bears will have to hunt on the land which is way harder for them. The cubs or mom can die from starvation. If the ice melts, all the glaciers will make a big flood. With a big flood, houses will be ruined and if it gets high enough, it can go to the gas bars, and then oil will be in the sea.

— Anonymous
Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dear ice,

I am so sorry for our past, can we just talk and make it last? Feels like a cut that’s cutting deeper and steeper as the days pass. But can we talk at last? The poor melted ice that was as once snowy fluffy and frozen, turned into melted slushiness. All because of me. If I could, I would make it be me instead of you. “I still don’t know how to look at my life without seeing an inescapable absence of you.”

Sorry from Sienna Dyer Dunphy ☹
Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dear Ice,

I’m writing this letter because global warming is bad. When I think about the ice I feel sad because you’re melting. When I think about global warming I feel angry because people aren’t doing a lot to help it.

— Anonymous
Writing from Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dear ice,

I am writing this letter because you are going through a tough situation regarding your melting. It’s upsetting that humans are mistreating you, and on my behalf I apologize.

When I think about the ice I think of a beautiful clear view with blue waters beneath it, but sadly the global warming happening across the world effects the ice and its way of melting. Ways to reduce the melting of the ice is to end pollution that largely targets the ice waters. When I think about global warming, I feel sad about how its damaging the earth and its environment such as ice. A great way to keep the ocean clean is to reduce littering.

— Anonymous
Iqaluit, NU Canada

Dear ice,

I would like to apologise for how long it has taken me to realise these problems. For the majority of my life, I had no idea what was happening to you. Ever since I still really haven’t done much to change my ways. I want that to change from this point on, I wish to change my ways of ignoring to help.

I wish to change. I will start to walk more instead of asking for a ride or calling a taxi. I will try to re-use my garbage instead of just throwing it away. I will also try to pick up garbage - mine and others. I hope that these changes in my life may help in some way.

The ice melting doesn’t really affect me, but it does affect many people and ecosystems all over the world. I may have a minimal effect on the ice melting but if I don’t do anything, nothing will change. I know it is way easier to just pretend it doesn’t exist, but it does matter and does affect our world. I hope at least some people understand and change their ways. It is never too late to help.

— Grade 9 student at Inuksuk High School
April 26
Iqaluit, Nunavut

Dear ice,

I am writing this letter because global warming is an issue. When I think about global warming, I start to feel bad for you, ice. I don’t like knowing that you are melting rapidly, and our communities will be drowning in water sometime soon. I don’t want people suffering because we didn’t put enough effort into stopping global warming. I am sorry that we made you suffer.

— Anonymous, writing from Iqaluit Nunavut

Dear ice,

I’m sorry for the way that humanity has been changing you, changing the way you look, how hot or cold you are, how tuff enough for me to stand, or for me to swim in. Some of us are trying to prevent you from melting before our land drowns in your sweat. Ice you are melting way too early this spring and I wish that you would stay longer.

— Anonymous
Iqaluit, NU

The ice is like a crystal dream, sparkles and shines in the suns gleam,
A world of white so pure and so bright it’s a breathtaking sight so pure and delight.

— Anonymous
Iqaluit Nunavut

Dear Ice,

Despite my ignorance of my culture or my language you are vitally important to them, it would never be the same without you. My little brother would never be able to do the things you have afforded me. My little cousins would never be able to go outside and play in the snow.

— Grade 9 Student
Iqaluit, Nunavut