Alaskans witness climate change, as it happens

Subsistence harvesters and local experts have unique knowledge of their social-ecological surroundings including the effects of climate change. Compared with Northern and Western Alaska relatively few studies have addressed local observations and adaptations to climate change in Southeast Alaska.

This video highlights in-depth interviews conducted in 2014 and 2015 of 90 subsistence harvesters, indigenous elders, and local experts from six communities in Southeast Alaska about observations, perceived risks, and adaptations to climate change.

Community residents reported erratic changes in weather patterns, including increased rain, cooler summers, less snow accumulation, and less predictable ocean conditions. Changes in wildlife, including almost complete absence of tree toads and changes in fisheries including run timing and abundance were observed. These local observations were then compared with instrument measures (Western science).

The video concludes with observations of adaptations to these changes including adjustments in culture activities and the return to more reliance on traditional hunting and gathering of foods and sharing. 

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