12 Nov '17, 9am

Climate Change Is Driving Residents of Kivalina From Their Homes

Climate Change Is Driving Residents of Kivalina From Their Homes

On the night of October 18, 2004, the land surrounding Kivalina’s airport was eroding fast. Wind gusts were hurricane-force and a 30-foot storm surge kept washing over the narrow airstrip, threatening to destroy the islanders’ only way of evacuating. To save it, Reppi Swan, Sr. and a small crew tore apart a plane that had crashed a month prior. With the pieces, they put up a seawall to slow the waves down. “Before the storm hit, my dad sat me and my two brothers down, and he told us,‘We cannot leave this town. We have to save it,’” Swan says as he pours hot coffee into a large thermos. He is standing in the kitchen of his light-filled home on Kivalina, a barrier island about 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the Chukchi sea. “Either we save this town, or we die trying.” The 2004 storm destroyed 21 feet of coastline overnight. Since then, other storms—including the ext...

Full article: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/climate-change-driving-r...

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