Environment

America’s First Climate Change Refugees: Their Homes Will Disappear

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The town of Kivalina could be underwater by 2025, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. This is a result of climate-change caused erosion – the island is six to ten feet above sea level, which continues rising.

Straight on the heels of NASA warning that sea levels are rising at an unprecedented level and that we have to begin preparing, comes this news out of Alaska.

In the Alaskan town of Kivalina there is no room left for new properties or even graves. Due to climate change, the coastal village’s days are numbered. The sea around Kivalina continues to rise, the storms get stronger, and the ice gets thinner. The barrier reef surrounding Kivalina is getting smaller with every storm. Kivalina is located 83 miles above the Arctic Circle, where beaches are disappearing and ice is melting,

The town of 403 residents could be underwater by 2025, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Kivalina’s 400 residents must grapple with how to relocate in the decade they’re estimated to have left.

The island has eroded – it is six to ten feet above sea level, which continues rising. The island used to be more than 400 feet above sea level. Once protected from early winter storms by a natural barrier of sea ice, Kivalina has been ravaged in recent decades by erosion because climate warming prevents ice from forming until later in the winter.

Since Kivalina’s days are numbered, money has not been invested in it to improve residents’ lives. Kivalina residents have moved bodies from the village graveyard to prevent them from washing away.

Global warming is carving measurable changes into Alaska. Studies show that more than 3.5 trillion tons of water have melted off of Alaska’s glaciers since 1959, when Alaska first became a state.

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  • Bruce Brown

    It has 403 people on a tiny island. Whats to “grapple”? Not like its a monumental undertaking.

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“America’s First Climate Change Refugees: Their Homes Will Disappear”