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Climate Change Refugees

April 18, 2017.  Global Citizen journalist Joe McCarthy writes from Kivalina, Alaska:

Dolly’s home is warm and spacious. Snow gear sits by the door. Illustrated Christianity posters are on the walls. A Mario game is being played on the TV. It could be any house in the throes of a Midwestern winter. Until, that is, Dolly serves maktaaq — small strips of frozen bowhead whale skin and blubber. Despite it being late at night, sunlight bounces off the walls. That’s because this is Kivalina, Alaska, some 70 miles above the Arctic Circle and 1,000 miles from Anchorage.... ...Within 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers has said that the barrier island will no longer be a viable place to live — the inhabitants will be forced to move. By 2100, as many as 13 million people living in coastal regions of the US and hundreds of millions more people throughout the world could be displaced by climate change.

Against this daunting backdrop, citizens of Kivalina are emerging as unlikely pioneers, navigating a thicket of logistical challenges to champion their own relocation. Cities and towns in similar positions have garnered headlines for deciding they must move because of climate change. And now the people of Kivalina are showing us what happens next. 

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