People, Environment

Climate Change Forces Alaskan Village to Move

Climate Change Forces Alaskan Village to MoveClimate Change Forces Alaskan Village to Move

Residents of the Alaskan village of Shishmaref, have voted to leave their ancestral home. The vote was close: 89 people voted to move Shishmaref to the Alaska mainland while 78 voted to stay and fight the rising tide, said Donna Barr, secretary of the Shishmaref Council. “Nearly all the 169 registered voters showed up to the village meeting to vote,” she said. The vote was important, perhaps more in symbolism than substance, because while the move isn’t imminent, when it happens, both the financial and emotional cost will be great. Their people have been there a long time and leaving the village means giving up a way of life. “Our community on this island has seen artifacts about 500 years old,” Barr said, according to CNN. Now they have to decide how to pay for the escape. It is a buck they plan to pass. “About 15 years ago, they estimated the cost at $180 million, but I would figure it’s much higher now,” Barr said. “We don’t see the move happening in our lifetime because of the funding.”