The tiny Alaskan island of Kivalina is all set to become the first victim of series of tragedies that marightly be said to be a tragedy on the cosmic scale. Not much is left of it and the little that is all ready to disappear into the vast expanse of the oceans. For these local residents climate change is not a subject of debate but a living reality that they have been seeing for the greater part of the last two decades.
And if a Federal Government survey conducted in 2003 is anything to go by it is only the first in a long list of similar islands that may eventually share the same fate. The Alaskan coast is dotted with 200 villages, 180 of which face an uncertain future.
The problems faced by this community are multifarious and multifaceted. As Coleen Swan, head of the relocation project of the village puts it “Every time we think we’ve seen all the changes something else happens. It’s something you wake up to, it’s not something that someone has to convince you about because you see it all the time and it’s our reality,”
President Obama has taken note of the situation and even expressed willingness to visit the place but the planes simply cannot land here as the runaway has not been spared from the ravages of climate change.
A small delegation is scheduled to meet President Obama during his visit to Kotzebue amidst a shared feeling of disappointment at the actions or rather the lack of it about their perilous condition. The sentiment is appropriately summed up by Colleen, who will be part of the delegation “People can deny it, that’s up to them, but they’re not doing any good for their own children, for their grandchildren.”