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Sept. 26, 2018 by Karen Sokol

From Surviving to Thriving: Seeking Climate Justice in the Common Law

This post is part of CPR's From Surviving to Thriving: Equity in Disaster Planning and Recovery report.

The 450 Inupiat residents of Kivalina, a small village on the frozen tundra of Alaska at the edge of the Arctic Ocean, are among the first communities in the world to lose their ability to survive because of climate change. With temperature increases that double the global average, Alaska is one of the canaries in the coal mine of climate change. As a result, the Arctic’s ice has diminished by half over the last three decades, triggering a series of reactions that are transforming the environment. The people of Kivalina risk plunging into frigid waters whenever they use their snowmobiles — the only viable motorized means of transportation in the region. That, along with the fact that their principal source of food is wildlife whose habitats are being destroyed by rising sea levels, means that the Inupiat of Kivalina are losing their ability to feed themselves.

The Kivalina villagers will eventually suffer the same fate as the wildlife they depend on: According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kivalina will be under water within ten years. Life is challenging on …

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Sept. 26, 2018

From Surviving to Thriving: Seeking Climate Justice in the Common Law