These Alaskans moved their village due to climate change

Climate change is no longer a futuristic concern. People, governments and businesses are responding to issues today whether it is sunny day flooding in coastal cities, increased magnitude and frequency of forest fires or stalled weather patterns causing more flooding or droughts.

Venice is an important face of rising sea levels, but Miami is the most at risk major city in the world say climate scientists. Yet, a town in Alaska has been forced to plan and move their town inland today.

An NPR story by Greg Kim earlier this month was entitled, “Residents Of An Eroded Alaskan Village Are Pioneering A New One, In Phases.”

“It’s finally moving day in Newtok, Alaska, the village where erosion has already claimed several homes and the river is banging on more doors. Newtok is sending a third of its residents across the Ninglick River this year, to its replacement village, Mertarvik. Decades of planning have built up to this moment.”

An earlier story from September noted, “In mid-October, Newtok will move one-third of its roughly 350 residents to a new village currently under construction on higher ground 9 miles away. The move will mark a sober milestone: Newtok residents will be the first Americans to be relocated because of the effects of climate change.”

Two things stand out. The Newtok citizens have been planning this move for over 25 years. While that may surprise some folks, we have known about climate change and rising sea levels for some time. Exxon Mobil is in court for misepresenting the impact of climate change to shareholders, but much of the prosecutor’s data comes from suppressed data from Exxon Mobil scientists. These scientists used to speak to groups about climate change concerns until management told them to stop. Shell Oil even produced an educational video on climate change concerns in the 1990s.

While these firms have moved to a naysaying strategy fueled by a Public Relations firm, they know the hard truths. And, if they forget, their shareholders voted that management tell them.

Newtok will not be the last US town or city which may need to move. Please remember the term sunny day flooding, as it represents days when sea water leave standing water in the streets of these cities.

13 thoughts on “These Alaskans moved their village due to climate change

    • Erika, it should be alarming. Yet, so many in our country do not watch or read news or get it from sources that don’t cover these things. With that said, these are the kinds of stories that might gain some interest. Thanks for your support. Keith

      • This comes very surprising for me too. I had no idea how serious it already is in Alaska. As you said, many others might be even more surprised and hopefull it makes them think!!

  1. There has always been erosion, and sometimes catastrophic floods (there were once thriving communities in parts of that constitute the North Sea; this is part of the dynamic of the planet. That said the pace of change is moving beyond the geological processes we see as ‘normal’.

    • Roger well said. The Outer Banks of NC is under grave attack due to climate change, but they have always had issue with having to rebuild the beaches. Bald Head Island allowed building too close to the shore and the ocean consumes the houses. They can only insure 1/2 of the value of the house now.

      Climate change is accelerating this consumption. Keith

      • Roger, sadly true. As with Al Gore, Greta Thunberg is a figure to beat up on. If you lack veracity in your argument, you beat up on the figure. If you do so, then you need not pay attention to the argument. Some thought global warming was a hoax because Al Gore lived in a big house.

        You hit on the scary part. If you admit climate change is human-influenced or Trump is corrupt, failing to do something about it is on you. Keith

  2. What, I wonder, is it that the climate change deniers fail to understand? Or, do they understand, but rather than make any changes in lifestyle that they may find ‘inconvenient’, they claim to deny? While it is true that some U.S. cities, especially coastal cities, are under threat, even more pressing perhaps are the areas on the African continent where the desert is encroaching on arable land and they are no longer able to produce enough food for the populace. Eventually that will be the case in many parts of the world. So much to consider, yet there are those who would call it a ‘hoax’.

    • Jill, I chose not to respond to the person on your recent post as yours was on the money. When he equated weather with climate, it said all I needed to know. Sadly, there are 30,000 non-scientific peer reviewed websites to confuse the issue. There are only 750 or so peer reviewed sites that support human influence on climate change. By itself, that shows where the money resides.

      We need to publicize these stories. The Carteret Island residents had to move to a more mountainous island. Bangladesh moved 750,000 people inland. Miami’s Dade County and three adjacent counties are spending $200 million to address encroaching seas. Then Trump formally requests a sea walk in Ireland on his coastal golf course to hold back rising seas due to climate change.

      These are real stories. A scientist said the climate has always been subject to change, but the industrial revolution forward has made the earth’s climate “pre-diabetic.” Keith

      • Jamie just pops into my blog every now and then with the sole purpose of antagonizing me, so I don’t blame you for not responding. I thought Scottie did a good enough job of it, and I only responded briefly.

        You are right … we must shine a light on these stories. I have a few I’ve been saving up for a climate post … perhaps I’ll do that this week. I get caught up in the Trump circus, but truth is that will still be there tomorrow, and maybe it’s more important, at least some of the time, to focus on things that people need to be aware of.

      • Jill, you did handle it well. I did not want to get into a multi-paragraph debate with someone repeating what Trump and Senator Imhofe say – it is snowing so the planet cannot be warming.

        We do need to push issues. Democrats may not want to vote for Mike Bloomberg, but I love his commercials – they focus on his active role in fighting for gun control, climate change action, jobs and healthcare. This is what all Dem candidates need to do, but wrap it in the word decency which is lacking in this White House. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: I was glad to hear Greta Thunberg has made it to Lisbon and will be headed to Madrid for the Climate Change conference. The younger voices should be heeded.

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