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14 islands threatened by climate change

By: Katherine Butler on Jan. 10, 2018, 11:44 a.m.
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Sarichef Island, Alaska

Sarichef Island is a 4-mile stretch of land off the coast of Alaska, and it's been the canary in the coal mine for islands facing a losing battle with climate change. Consisting of the village Shishmaref and an airport, the island doesn't offer much in the way of places to move to escape the rising sea levels, and the residents know it. In 2016, the Inuit villagers of Shishmaref voted in favor of relocating their ancestral home to safer ground. This vote comes after similar votes in 1973 and 2002 that saw the villagers agreeing to leaving Sarichef, but as the Christian Science Monitor explains, the villagers have been unable to find a site or secure funding. But time is running out: Over the past 35 years, Sarichef has lost between 2,500 and 3,000 feet of land to coastal erosion, and it shows little sign of easing up any time soon.