Native voices from the frontlines of climate change
Climate change is most pronounced in the Arctic with:
- greater temperature increases than the rest of the planet;
- more intense storm activity; and
- significant ice, snow, and permafrost melt.
Native villages in Alaska are particularly vulnerable with their subsistence cultures closely attuned to the stability of regional biophysical conditions. We can all learn about climate change from the people in this region with their Indigenous Science as a way of knowing and living on their land. This website serves as a video library of two native villages in Alaska on the front line of climate change - Savoonga and Shaktoolik - documenting the climate change impacts they are witnessing, describing their key vulnerabilities, and providing an in-depth study of storms and changing wind patterns. Applying their traditional ecological knowledge and practices adds depth to our conventional scientific methods making for better science.
In her debut film, Laura St. Andrews highlights the importance of hunting to the people of Savoonga by showcasing scenes of the natural landscape and interviews with village hunters. The film shows how the subsistence village draws its identity from the surrounding land.
This film by Jonathan Ignatowski considers the climatic changes in Savoonga by exploring its impact on maintaining the village’s subsistence food culture.
The village of Shaktoolik is threatened by the increasingly severe fall storms associated with a warmer Arctic. Filmmaker Mera Kenney captures this perilous situation and highlights the village's need for a road to "somewhere safe.”
In his first film, David Smith focuses on the efforts by villagers in Shaktoolik to construct a berm in front of the village to defend against increasingly dangerous storms.