This morning on the way to class I saw the following tweet from environmentalist and founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben:
At least 31 Alaskan cities and towns ‘at risk of imminent destruction’ from climate change, says NYT https://t.co/f84CJXNPiN
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) November 29, 2016
I clicked on the story, thinking to myself ’31 towns, that’s nuts,’ especially because I come from a coastal community. If you haven’t read the story McKibben referred to, it is well worth it.
The story, ‘A Wrenching Choice for Alaska Towns in the Path of Climate Change,’ looks at the village of Shaktoolik, which is nestled on a spit surrounded by the Norton Sound and the Shaktoolik River. Along with Shaktoolik, these towns in Alaska now face the choice of relocation or destruction. According to the article, due to their proximity to the Arctic, “Alaska is warming about twice as fast as the rest of the United States.”
Besides this being a story that I would find interesting normally, I’m posting about this story because of how the times approached it. Although the reporting is great, the visuals are what make this story fantastic.
The photos and film help to paint a beautiful and simultaneously somber picture of the community of Shaktoolik and the choice they face. This story is also one in a series of those done by the Times called “Carbon’s Casualties.” The series explores how climate change is displacing people globally. In reality, these articles only begin to scratch the surface of the impending climate change refugee crisis.
Even though this is a primarily ocean focused blog, the breadth of the stories also show that climate change isn’t just coastal, but affecting communities inland as well. Climate change is a chain reaction, touching everywhere and everyone, but dependent on location and economics when it comes to those being able to adapt to the changes or not.
This approach to climate change and its effects is one I’ve always championed. I believe that one of the hardest obstacles we face in protecting the environment is envisioning the effects on a global scale, and then applying that realization to our own lives.
By looking at a variety of areas in such a visual manner, the Times is really pushing to spread awareness through visual appeal.
Here are the rest of the stories in the series:
- Americans Displaced by Climate Change
- A Remote Pacific Nation Threatened by Rising Seas
- Climate Change Claims a Lake, and an Identity
- Living in China’s Expanding Deserts
- Resettling China’s ‘Ecological Migrants’
Photo by Murray Foubister (cc).