Sustaining Subsistence, Life & Culture as the Climate Changes
Climate change is here today and accelerating, transforming the land, waters, plants and animals of western Arctic Alaska. Communities, tribal organizations, land managers, researchers and agencies will all need to work together to respond to these serious challenges, and where possible seize on new opportunities.
– Quotes below from participants in 2016 workshops in King Salmon, Unalaska, Nome and Kotzebue.
More Than Just Food: Family, Fitness, Identity, Community, Memory, Spirit
Subsistence is the heart of life of western arctic Alaska. This graphic, based on the UAF Native Knowledge Network, gives a generalized picture of foods used through the seasons, and how these seasons are changing. The value of subsistence life can't be quantified, but picking one dimension: what's a walrus worth? Most importantly, it sustains culture and community, but just as food a walrus provides about 500 pounds of high quality protein; the equivalent of approximately 800 less nutritional steak meals, which would cost $6000-$7000.
"For us, it's like someone moved the calendar by a month and nobody told us. We wonder what it must be like for the animals, plants and fish."
Response to Change: "We have always been adaptive, resilient people"
For thousands of years, Alaska's traditional cultures have shown remarkable resilience, applying a mix of ancient and new skills to adapt, survive and thrive. Sections below highlight emerging strategies to sustain lives and cultures in the face of climate change.