Thursday, September 10, 2015

Vanishing Village in Alaska

By Anton Antonio
September 11, 2015

“A picture paints a thousand words.”  The accompanying picture, however, paints a thousand pains for the residents of Kivalina, Alaska, USA.  Please read…

By Maria L. La Ganga
August 30, 2015

This is what climate change looks like, up close and personal.  In this town of 403 residents 83 miles above the Arctic Circle, beaches are disappearing, ice is melting, temperatures are rising, and the barrier reef Kivalina calls home gets smaller and smaller with every storm.  There is no space left to build homes for the living.  The dead are now flown to the mainland so the ocean won’t encroach upon their graves.  Most here agree that the town should be relocated; where, when and who will pay for it are the big questions.  The Army Corps of Engineers figures Kivalina will be underwater in the next decade or so.” ---

Kivalina is a city and village in Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska, United States.  The population was 377 at the 2000 census and 374 as of the 2010 census.  The island on which the village lies is threatened by rising sea levels and coastal erosion.  As of 2013, it is predicted that the island will be inundated by 2025.  Due to severe sea wave erosion during storms, the city hopes to relocate again to a new site 12 kilometers from the present site; studies of alternative sites are ongoing.  According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the estimated cost of relocation runs between $95 and $125 million, whereas the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates it to be between $100 and $400 million. (Wikipedia)

With the enormous amount of funds needed to protect Kivalina, the more practical alternative is to simply relocate the village.  Perhaps, more than the “solution” or “solutions” being crafted would be the determination of the “cause” or “causes” of the problem that necessitated such solution/s.  The natural response is “rising sea level”… but what is the root cause?  Rising sea levels is caused by melting polar ice… melting polar ice is caused by global warming and climate change... and this could go on and on if we really dig deeper.  Again, we seem to go around in circles and eventually arrive at global warming and/or climate change as the root cause. 

Unfortunately, some influential world leaders are still in denial of the existence of climate change and that climate change is a real threat.  The Kivalina case is proof that climate change exists and can be considered a world community problem… and, therefore, needs world community solutions and intervention.  Are nations waiting for their territories to shrink or vanish before some degree of action is made to mitigate climate change?  Or, perhaps, the question that needs to be addressed is: “Are there no lessons to be learned from the vanishing village in Alaska?”

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Wikipedia. “Kivalina, Alaska”.  Retrieved on September 11, 2015 from,_Alaska

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