Posted by: islandsfirst | July 30, 2008

How About I Move Into Your House

Although far from palms or reefs, the climate change concerns of some indigenous Alaskans is all too familiar to islanders further south. NPR’s Elizabeth Arnold recently reported on villages threatened by erosion and storm surge:

The irony isn’t lost on the people here that they emit the least amount of greenhouse gases and yet are the first to be directly effected.

The report was by no means the first time the village of Kivalina was in the news this year. A lawsuit filed on behalf of the village this past February charged two dozen energy companies with knowingly contributed to global warming and, therefore, Kivalina’s imminent extinction.

Photo of Kivalina by Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times

Photo of Kivalina by Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times

Colleen Swan, Kivalina’s tribal administrator, described the suit to Arnold as a “last resort, desperation”:

We have to rely on the government to help us. We have to rely on FEMA. You know, there has to be a disaster. And we are NOT going to sit and wait for a disaster to happen. We need to get off this island!

Given an increasing number of threatened communities and the international community’s lackluster mitigation efforts, there may be many more last resorts to come. A panel at UC Berkley this past spring elaborated on the issue:


  1. […] it by uttering the oxymoron “clean coal“. Meanwhile, a climate denialist (with effected consituents, no less) was tapped as running mate for the republicans’ presumptive […]

  2. […] The Alaskan village of Kivalina (courtesy of Islands First) […]

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