Friday, August 19, 2016

After over 500 years of existence Alaska village surrenders to global warming.

Courtesy of CNN:

The Alaskan village of Shishmaref voted this week to surrender to global warming and move its ancestral home. 

The Tuesday vote was close. Eighty-nine people voted to move Shishmaref to the Alaska mainland while 78 voted to stay and fight the rising tide, said Donna Barr, secretary of the Shishmaref Council. 

Nearly all the 169 registered voters showed up to the village meeting to vote, she said. The vote was important, perhaps more in symbolism than substance, because while the move isn't imminent, when it happens, both the financial and emotional cost will be great.

The people of Shishmaref, where artifacts are found dating back 500 years, believe the move will cost in excess of 180 million dollars and not happen during the lifetime of those who voted.

The story is similar all up and down the Alaska coast and island communities.

Villages that have existed for many hundreds of years are now suddenly uninhabitable, and the people whose families go back multiple generations have to imagine life in a completely different environment.

This is why I often say that for Alaskans, there is really no argument against the existence of climate change.

The only question is how long can we run from it?


  1. Anonymous2:20 AM

    It's too late.

  2. Anonymous5:03 AM


    I'm not only a Energy Expert, I'm a Climate Change expert as well.

    We're not moving from Wasilla because Climate Change is a hoax.
    -Lou Sarah

  3. Anonymous5:09 AM

    Our village has to move too. We took a vote and it is unanimous that our village will move to 1140 W Parks Hwy, Wasilla, AK

  4. Anonymous9:00 AM

    We can't run. Too late. All of AK and Siberia are melting. The equator will be too hot to support human life.

    The biggest culprits in global warming are those billionaires who continue to chase the golden throne with no regard to the environment. dRUMPf comes to mind...

  5. Anonymous9:38 AM

    This matter even merited a NY Times article today. Many of the villagers in these affected communities are nervous about moving inland because the new sites lack the services required. This does not have to be a problem. If US politicians were to get serious about the menace of climate change, large amounts of money could be allotted to helping dangerously threatened communities relocate to more inland homes. It would involve major infrastructure work which would employ people already living in the area and the newcomers. This is not a problem facing Alaska alone; in all of our coastal regions, communities and some major cities are threatened by the reality of climate change and by the failure of Congress and state governments to face the issue boldly. Look at the most recent flooding in Louisiana, look at the devastation of hurricanes in recent years. Americans have to face the reality of what the future will bring.

    1. Anonymous11:05 AM

      I don't know what "services" you are referring to as most homes in Shismaref don't have plumbing for sewer or running water. Electricity for the entire village comes from a diesel generator. Many of the homes are filled with black mold and are literally decaying into the earth.

      This move will be an upgrade for many of the villagers, hence the extraordinary federal dollars required to rebuild and rehouse the villagers.

    2. Anonymous1:02 PM

      The NY Times article mentions the basic "services" that most of us consider essential. There's no reason why such services - water, electricity, sewage - shouldn't be essential wherever these communities relocate. Roads, access to waterways so that commodities can be brought in, schools, etc. are all part of a basic infrastructure that should be provided to people, wether they live in Alaska, Florida, or anywhere else in the US. Obviously the move inland will represent an "upgrade" in living standards but the real cost for the residents is that they will be accepting a great change in their status quo, that's not always easily done.

  6. Anonymous4:35 PM

    I was reading on Alaska Dispatch all the comments on the story, and it was disgusting. People making blanket statements about how us Native people need to evolve, and all that shit. Sure we need to evolve, to global warming. We've been seeing changes for over forty years, now it's here kicking ass. Instead of all these comments, maybe people can start by stopping the denial, then we maybe can start putting our collective minds together to solving this problem before all our asses drown. Then we all have to evolve. Ever watched Waterworld? That to me was a prophecy. And people did not like the movie because it was telling a truth no one wanted to hear.


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