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Victim of Climate Change, aTown Seeks a Lifeline [View All]

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nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-27-07 04:51 PM
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Victim of Climate Change, aTown Seeks a Lifeline
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Edited on Sun May-27-07 04:51 PM by nam78_two
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/27/us/27newtok.html?_r=1...
>>
The earth beneath much of Alaska is not what it used to be. The permanently frozen subsoil, known as permafrost, upon which Newtok and so many other Native Alaskan villages rest, is melting, yielding to warming air temperatures and a warming ocean. Sea ice that would normally protect coastal villages is forming later in the year, allowing fall storms to pound away at the shoreline.

Erosion has made Newtok an island, caught between the ever widening Ninglick River and a slough to the north. The village is below sea level, and sinking. Boardwalks squish into the spring muck. Human waste, collected in honey buckets that many residents use for toilets, is often dumped within eyeshot in a village where no point is more than a five-minute walk from any other. The ragged wooden houses have to be adjusted regularly to level them on the shifting soil.

Studies say Newtok could be washed away within a decade. Along with the villages of Shishmaref and Kivalina farther to the north, it has been the hardest hit of about 180 Alaska villages that suffer some degree of erosion.

Some villages plan to hunker down behind sea walls built or planned by the Army Corps of Engineers, at least for now. Others, like Newtok, have no choice but to abandon their patch of tundra. The corps has estimated that to move Newtok could cost $130 million because of its remoteness, climate and topography. That comes to almost $413,000 for each of the 315 residents.

Not that anyone is offering to pay.

After all, climate change is raising questions about how to deal with drought, wildfires, hurricanes and other threats that affect so many more people and involve large sums of money.

>>More at the link.
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