This winter was a tough one for us here in Western Alaska. It was no doubt a very heavy snow year and most of us were busy shoveling and removing snow most of the time. Flat light and constant storms prevented us even from enjoying what is usually the glory time of spring with snow on the ground, blue skies and long days.
But the real scary occurences this winter were images that came from Little Diomede of open water and waves crashing onto the shores of the island in the Bering Strait in February. Open water at Diomede in February! And just last week, a reader emailed photos of open water at Port Clarence, taken just last week. Flying across Norton Sound, the ice looks like shattered porcelain with lots of dark blue in between. Scientists have predicted the consequences of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere and the warming of our climate. They have laid out the picture: warming seas, warming air, more violent storms, rising sea levels, erratic behavior of natural cycles. And here we are, trying to adapt as fast as we can, but it is very hard for coastal residents who are depending on subsistence hunting successes to get by and put food on the table.
We are not the only ones who have to buckle up for a big change. But we need to nevertheless make our voices heard. With this, I am calling upon our readers in the outlying communities and in Nome to share your stories with us. Call in or email your story of change and how these new climate realities impact your lives. Let’s tell those stories and hopefully they will have an impact. —D.H.—