Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Prevent coastal erosion in Alaska’s islands to save indigenous villages.
While many Americans have yet to feel the harsh effects of climate change, residents of Alaska are getting the first taste of what’s to come. Indigenous tribes in the tiny village of Kivalina, Alaska are at risk of losing their homes due to coastal erosion caused by rising sea levels. Stop coastal erosion in Alaska now so that residents’ villages don’t become unlivable in the next decade.
The Alaskan village of Kivalina is located on the far edge of the Bering sea. Around 400 indigenous people live here, hunting and fishing to stay alive. Since Arctic icecaps have been melting due to climate change, this coastal town has become incredibly vulnerable to erosion and flooding. According to recent studies, the Arctic Ocean may be entirely free of ice during the summers within the next generation. The rate of warming in the Arctic is higher than anywhere else on earth.
BBC News Magazine reported,”The US Government believes it could cost up to $400 million to relocate Kivalina’s inhabitants to higher ground – building a road, houses, and a school does not come cheap in such an inaccessible place. And there is no sign the money will be forthcoming from public funds.”
There is clearly a governmental conflict of interest between preventing damage from climate change and expanding Alaska’s carbon-fueled economy. Almost all of the Alaska’s state budget is funded by oil industry revenues. Sign the petition below to urge the federal government to take responsibility for climate change, and protect Alaskan villages before they no longer exist.
Dear President Obama,
Alaskan villages, like Kivalina, are facing a serious risk of coastal erosion due to melting glaciers and climate change. For these villagers, the sea has sustained their way of life for generations. Now the effects of climate change are threatening to displace them, as the thick ice melts and can no longer protect their communities from winter storms. It is unfair for Alaska’s indigenous tribes to pay the price for a problem they did not create.
I am urging you to work with the United Nations and local environmental groups to create a relocation plan for indigenous people of Alaska and the Pacific Islands. These peoples’ displacement is inevitable, and it is up to you to ease their transition to a new location and a new way of living.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via WikiMedia Commons