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Posted on Aug 18, 2016

Climate Change in an Arctic Community

Kotzebue from the bush plane

Kotzebue Alaska

This year will be the sixth time that I travel through Kotzebue Alaska on an arctic adventure. Our trip this year takes us from Kotzebue by a bush pilot to the headwaters of the Ambler River in Gates of the Arctic National Park. We will backpack down the Ambler River valley exploring as we go. This is fall in the arctic and the blueberries and the fall colors are spectacular. The Western Arctic Caribou Herd will be starting their fall migration and hopefully we will share the valley with them at some point. While we are enjoying ourselves, the people of Kotzebue will be facing the continuing challenge of climate change. Last year while we were on our adventure in the Noatak Preserve, President Obama made a visit to Kotzebue to highlight this challenge. Since the 15th century people have made a living here in this demanding arctic environment. Now the effects of climate change are beginning to threaten the existence of the town. Climate change is felt here in the arctic sooner and more pronounced than anywhere else in the world. Listen to Maija Lukin, Mayor of Kotzebue, discuss the challenges that this community faces today. Watch here.