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Inupiaq Community of Shishmaref in the National Spotlight

by admin ~ March 22nd, 2007

Al Gore was on the Hill yesterday speaking to legislators about climate change and our energy culture, and drew large crowds to the compelling nature of the issue, the urgency for change, and the political theater of his testimony.

But Gore wasn’t the only story on climate change in the news yesterday. As a prelude of things to come, ABC Nightline profiled the Inupiaq community of Shishmaref on the Western Coast of Alaska (just south of the Arctic Circle on the Chukchi Sea). And what did they find, a community that has lived in the area for 4,000 years is likely to move because the village is no longer safe (potentially at an initial cost of $180 million dollars). The lack of ice leaves the land exposed to the eroding effects of the seas, and the walrus (important to diet and heritage) bypass the community because the ice is no longer thick enough to support their weight. For a compelling look at the human cost of climate change, you can view the segment on the ABC Nightline News site, or find more information at the Shishmaref Erosion and Relocation Coalition website.


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