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Driftwood deposits from fierce storms threaten the homes of Shaktoolik.  Photo by Jon Rosales.
Driftwood deposits from fierce storms threaten the homes of Shaktoolik. Photo by Jon Rosales.

Climate change threatens Alaskan villages

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It's well documented that climate change is having its most dramatic effects in the Arctic. Sea ice is retreating and the permafrost is melting. The sea level is rising. Storms are more intense.

A St. Lawrence University professor is getting a first-hand view of how that's affecting remote villages in Alaska. And he wants to bring the views of the Native Americans who live there to the world. "The story is really becoming more human-centered, I think," says SLU environmental studies professor Jon Rosales. "It used to be the polar bears were the emblematic, charismatic up in the Arctic that people associated climate change with. But it's really human now and it's really impacting people in a very dramatic way."

Rosales returned to three villages on the Bering Strait this summer, where Alaska reaches out to Siberia. His wife's family lives in one of them. Rosales told David Sommerstein one village, Shaktoolik, faces imminent danger as the fall storm season begins.

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