Alaska’s Usteq Crisis

The polar caps are warming 2X faster than middle latitudes. Remote villages like Quinhagak in southwestern Alaska are in crisis and may be “canaries in the collective coal mine” for the globe.

Quinhagak loses land yearly to erosion, storm surge and tundra thaw. Livelihoods through hunting and fishing are in danger and buildings are at critical risk as water rises. A new word was added to the local Yup’ik language: usteq, meaning “catastrophic permafrost collapse.” 

What’s happening at the caps could be a preview for the over 600 million people living in coastal cities like Boston and Miami. 

The Christian Science Monitor

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