Alaska, Shishmaref, the Chukchi sea, and global warming

Carol

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More than anything else, my dad wanted to defeat Hitler when he was a young man. He tried three times to enlist in the Army...he finally found a doc that would clear him despite his cardiac issues, which we would later learn was the result of a teenage bout with Rheumatic Fever. He wanted desperately to fight in Europe but the Army knew better. At the time, the Air Force was part of the Army. My dad was sent to to Ladd Field, the modest Air Force base near Fairbanks, AK (now Fort Wainwright). The base played a quieter winning the war. The base served as the Army's cold weather training grounds. When Hitler turned on the Soviet Union, the enemy's enemy became our friend. Allied aircraft quietly flown from Ladd Field in to Siberia, giving the Soviet Union some desperately needed air support...all at a base that only had 40 or 50 people.

The base didn't have enough manpower for a police force, my dad and a few other folks picked up police duties in addition to their regular job. Unfortunately the devastating winters, the stark isolation, and the months of limited sunlight affected the mental health of many of the soldiers. There were times when some men snapped and tried to leave the base. They would take their skis, take a jeep, take something and try to hightail it down a road leading off the base...only to have a road end in an inevitable snowbank within a few thousand yards, the point of the roads impassibility. The worst scenario was the sound of a single gunshot...the gut-wrenching swan song of a depressed soldier that had fallen to suicide.

My dad also spoke in amazement of the people incuding how friendly and gracious many Alaskans are. He also spoke in amazement at the richness in natural beauty. I think my dad gave me a near-lifelong fascination with the area. Partly out of this fascination, I learned about the small village of Shishmaref.

Shishmaref is a tiny Inupiaq (the name for the Inuit people in the area) village on a barrier island just north of the Bering Strait. This town may very well bear more of the brunt of global warming than any other place in the U.S. The Inupiaq people in Shishmaref largely live a life of subsistence. Like many indiginous societies, the modernization of contemporary life occasionally clashes with the ways and traditions that have been part of the people for generations. The effects of global warming have compromised that life by making their traditional hunting and fishing more difficult...and the people of Shishmaref are now finding that their very village is falling in to the Chukchi sea. Their village was built on an island of permafrost, which is degrading due to the higher temperatures.

The photo essay below is quite captivating. A lot of the content in Mother Jones is too left-of-center for my taste, but they do have some very interesting photo essays. The pictures (and accompanying audio clips) tell an amazing story, a story about the risks and the devastation of life in the area, the culture-impacting decisions that go with relocating the village, as well as the amazing spirit and resolve of the Inupiaq people. Particularly eye-opening is an audio clip of an Inupiaq housewife who talks about her island "returning to the sea from which it came" and looking forward to the move to the mainland, where she dreams of having a garage, or a garden. Powerful stuff.


Photo Essay of Shishmaref
 
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Carol

Carol

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It saddens me too. It was amazing to see how families are banding together when one loses a house to the sea...its also amazing to see that they have a lot of hope for the future of Shishmaref, even with all the upheaval that is occurring.

I do hope they can raise the millions needed to rebuild a village on the mainland. If the village is not rebuilt and they undergo an emergency evacuation only to be warehoused in a shelter in (say) Nome or Fairbanks...that could break what is left to the spirit of the community.

I wish I had posted about the story when I first read it. Between the climate debates and Gov. Sarah Palin I imagine that Alaska and global warming are subjects that carry too much fatigue.
 

Twin Fist

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when even I can spot the lie in the first 2 paragraphs:

"Tuvalu, in the South Pacific, is one of the world's lowest-lying nations and faces inundation within a generation by rising tides linked to mankind's impact on the climate."

I HATE dishonest reporters



It always saddens me to see an entire way of life lost. This kind of thing is inevitable, though-and we'll be seeing lots more of it.

The island nation of Tuvalu, in the South Pacific, is going to evacuate all 11,000 people to New Zealand and Australia, because of rising sea level.
 

elder999

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when even I can spot the lie in the first 2 paragraphs:

"Tuvalu, in the South Pacific, is one of the world's lowest-lying nations and faces inundation within a generation by rising tides linked to mankind's impact on the climate."

I HATE dishonest reporters

Interesting, let's see:

At a mere average of 12 ft. above sea level, Tuvaluu is one of the world's lowest lying nations.

It's already facing indunation due to rising tides.

Must be the "linked to makind's impact on climate part" that you're calling a lie? While it's been "linked," it doesn't make it necessarily true, I'll grant, buit it doesn't make it a "lie."

Certainly not one worth "HATING" anyone over...:lol:
 

Twin Fist

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he could have just i dont know, REPORTED the story

"rising sea levels threaten island nation"

that would have been honest

to throw in the BECAUSE crap just made it another hack piece
 
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Carol

Carol

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Yes but the multi-media presentation states on its opening slide "The south Pacific island faces extinction due to human-induced climate change"
 

elder999

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Yes but the multi-media presentation states on its opening slide "The south Pacific island faces extinction due to human-induced climate change"


And due to the fact that is so low lying, and its porosity, and the impact the inhabitants have had on the island itself......there has been a measured sea level change, though, and it's largely attributed (by the scientific community) to "global warming" and/or "human induced climate change." That there are arguments about this are not surprising: there are even arguments that the sea level is not rising.....:shrug:

Point really is that they're :flushed:
 
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Carol

Carol

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Yeah... :( :(

We can raise some money and send it to Bob Hubbard who can register .tv domains to support the island... ;)
 
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