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Yamal, the edge of the earth

The remote Yamal Peninsula, whose name means the edge of the earth, stretches from the Northern Siberia to Karas sea, beyond the Arctic Circle. In this large region live the Nenets, one of the greatest nomadic people among the 26 ethnic groups from this Russian province. This people lifestyle is organized on the seasons rhythm and on their migratory flows following ancient roads. However, since a few years, the global warming leads to the permafrost melt, a situation with awful consequences on the Nenets people
Indeed, this melt enables oil deposit and gas exploitation on the land, but the erected structures impact the nomadic people migration. Without any migration, the Nenets are bound to disappear: during winter, temperatures can drop to -122F in the North, compelling the Nenets to go down to the South to find exploitable grazing areas. However, these grazing areas are also threatened by the pollution linked to the hydrocarbon exploitation facilities. Temperatures that exceeded 86F, defrost reindeer carcass and release some infected bacteria by Anthrax. Anthrax has been spreading on people and on herds, necessary to Nenets living, to feed themselves, to move and even to build their home. The Nenets reindeers represent the biggest herd of the world with more than 700.000 heads. They are an integral part of their lifestyle: every Nenets owns its sacred reindeer, who cant be neither harnessed nor killed till it stands up.

Under the Soviet regime, young Nenets had to go to school, to learn Russian, and to mingle into the society. Nowadays, at post-Soviet era, they are still sent in town to get an education, but the scholar rhythms are more adapted to their lifestyle. School years over, teenagers could pursue the very same path than the other same-aged kids. However, the Tundras call is stronger: they keep going back to the Nomadic life.

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