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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Melting Ice, Sinking Villages This World Env't Day

Who would have thought that the theme of this year's coming World Environment Day on June 5th was eerily relevant to the spotlight climate change has been thrust in? The most potent manifestation is the melting polar ice, but also the change in life for a lot of families and towns in those regions. A story in the recent International Herald Tribune shows how the melting ice had already affected the towns in Alaska. The ground beneath the town is sinking.
Entitled, "Alaskan town seeks lifeline amid climate change," by William Yardley, IHT, writes: "The earth beneath much of Alaska is not what it used to be. The permanently frozen subsoil, known as permafrost, upon which Newtok and so many other Native Alaskan villages rest, is melting, yielding to warming air temperatures and a warming ocean. Sea ice that would normally protect coastal villages is forming later in the year, allowing fall storms to pound away at the shoreline. Erosion has made Newtok an island, caught between the ever-widening Ninglick River and a slough to the north. The village is below sea level, and sinking."
And in the wake of this slow death is the recent assertion of the U.S. that it finds E.U. targets for mitigating climate change unacceptable, makes you wonder.

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