Home / Tag Archives: people

Tag Archives: people

How is climate change impacting Easter Island?

A New York Times article,  Easter Island Is Eroding, (3/15/18 by  Casey and Haner) has the answer.

Tourists usually begin their days in Tongariki, where they gather to watch the sunrise from behind a line of monoliths facing inland. Groups split off to Anakena, the island’s one sandy beach, or to the ancient platforms at Akahanga, a sprawling site of former villages on the shore where, tradition holds, the island’s mythical founder, Hotu Matu’a, is buried in a stone grave.

Yet all three sites now stand to be eroded by rising waters, scientists say.

“We don’t want people seeing these places through old photos,” Mr. Rapu said.

A beach is already lost:

The damage has been swift on Ovahe Beach, near where Mr. Huke came across bones in the sun. For generations, there had been a sandy beach here that was popular with tourists and locals. Nearby, a number of unmarked burial sites were covered with stones.

Now the waves have carried off almost all of the sand, leaving jagged volcanic stone. The burial sites have been damaged and it’s not clear how long they will survive the waves.

Walls collapsing:

At a site called Ura Uranga Te Mahina on the island’s southern coast, park officials were alarmed last year when blocks of a stone wall perched about 10 feet above a rocky coast collapsed after being battered by waves.

There is more and the article has fantastic photos.

People Impacted by Climate Change – The Nenets

The Nenets are reindeer herders in Russia’s Arctic that migrate 800 miles each year. The National Geographic Article, They Migrate 800 Miles a Year. Now It’s Getting Tougher, tells their story.

The Nenets have undertaken this annual migration for centuries, and at 800 miles round-trip, it’s one of the longest in the world. Yuri’s group, called Brigade 4, is a relic of a Soviet collective—under Soviet rule the Nenets endured decades of forced collectivization and religious persecution. They survived centuries of Russian rule before that. Through it all, they’ve managed to sustain their language, their animist worldview, and their nomadic traditions.

The Nenets are facing challenges.

As I talk to Yuri, the region is suffering another record-hot summer; the thermometer has already hit 94°F. It hasn’t rained for weeks, and it’s hard for reindeer to pull the loaded sleighs across the dry tundra. Before the summer is out, a boy and more than 2,300 reindeer will die from anthrax on southern Yamal, and dozens of people will get sick—a direct result of thawing permafrost, which allowed animal carcasses buried during an outbreak in the 1940s to reemerge, still bearing infectious microbes.

And it isn’t just climate related challenges.

Yet climate change isn’t even the greatest threat to the Nenets. Development is. Russia’s quest for new sources of hydrocarbons has encroached on pastures that were already tight for the estimated 255,000 reindeer and the 6,000 nomadic herders that live on Yamal.

Read the article, which includes a video and a number of great photos and maps: They Migrate 800 Miles a Year. Now It’s Getting Tougher.

Related permafrost articles from this blog: Climate Change, Melting Permafrost, and Disease, Melting Permafrost and a Feedback Loop, Climate Change – Impacts on People, and Methane Bubbles – A Feedback Loop.

The Human Impact of Climate Change – The Guna People

This blog focuses on data, but we pause periodically to put the data into perspective. When educating about sustainability we want stories along with the data. The BBC provides such a story: The island people with a climate change escape plan.  The Guna people live on small islands off Panama.

Most Guna communities live on the archipelago, and have done for centuries, after they were driven offshore by disease and venomous snakes. But now many believe that only a move back to the mainland can secure their future.

They have a plan, but completing the plan isn’t simple.

However, today work on the school and hospital has halted, as a result of a litany of contractual hiccups – and crucially, a failure to plan for adequate supplies of water and electricity. Work never began on the 300 houses.

Along with rising water there are other environmental issues.

“Coral reefs stop wave action. So when you remove the coral, even down to 3m in depth, you have no protection. This has created chaos for people,” says Dr Hector Guzman, a research scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Institute in Panama City.

This is an excellent story with great photos. Take the time to read it.

Climate Change – Impacts on People

Kivalina, an Alaskan village facing coastal erosion. Credit: ShoreZone/flickr

This blog looks to post materials that contain data in some form that can be used in classrooms whenever possible. But, we need to also recognize that climate change is already impacting people.  Climate Central’s post, Alaska Towns At Risk from Rising Seas Sound Alarm, provides us with this context.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, 31 Alaskan communities face “imminent” existential threats from coastline erosion, flooding and other consequences of temperatures that are rising twice as quickly in the state as the global average. A handful — Kivalina, Newtok, Shishmaref and Shaktoolik — are considered in particularly perilous positions and will need to be moved.

Some of the reasons these towns need to be moved:

As the coastal buffer of sea ice retreats, towns are more vulnerable to storms and coastline erosion. Many key structures are built on permafrost, which is also melting, causing the buildings to subside or even crumple completely. And a succession of mild years — 2016 was nearly 6F warmer than the long-term average — is disrupting the patterns of wildlife in an environment where people rely upon the animals they catch for sustenance.

Climate Central’s post is worth reading. Recall our post that melting permafrost is part of a feedback loop.