Alaska’s Climate Refugees

The village of Newtok, Alaska, sits on the shore of the Ninglick River, on increasingly unstable land affected by erosion and melting permafrost. To escape the predicted collapse of the village site, residents will soon have to relocate to more stable ground. Newtok, with a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people, was founded in 1959, but the Yupik have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. Today, as global temperatures rise, Newtok and several other remote Alaskan villages are threatened by melting permafrost, widening rivers, coastal erosion, and larger storms that come in from the Bering Sea. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the highest point in Newtok—the school—could be underwater by 2017. A new village site called Mertarvik has been established about nine miles away, though so far families have been slow to relocate. Getty Images photographer Andrew Burton spent several days in Newtok recently, documenting the environment, the new town site, and the Yupik way of life in this threatened remote village. (Also worth reading is this earlier story on The Atlantic: When Global Warming Kills Your God.)
Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Ads are being blocked

For us to continue writing great stories, we need to display ads.

Un-block Learn more
Back

Whitelist

Please select the extension that is blocking ads.

Back

Please follow the steps below

Most Recent

  • Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuter / REUTERS

    Animals Rescued From the 'Worst Zoo in the World' in Gaza

    Four Paws, an international animal welfare group, has just completed the removal of the surviving 15 animals from the Khan Younis Zoo—dubbed the “worst zoo in the world”—in the Gaza Strip

  • Gregorio Borgia / AP

    An Earthquake in Central Italy Topples Buildings, Killing Dozens

    Central Italy was struck by a powerful, shallow, 6.2-magnitude earthquake at 3:36 am local time, devastating several mountain villages, and resulting in at least 73 deaths so far.

  • Francois-Xavier Marit / AFP / Getty

    Rio 2016: Photos From the Final Weekend

    Today’s final entry encompasses rhythmic gymnastics, wrestling, triathlon, mountain biking, canoe, modern pentathlon, soccer, the Closing Ceremony, and much more.

  • Mark Havens

    Mesmerizing Motels of the Atomic Age

    An homage to the distinctive and disappearing architecture of a bygone era

Join the Discussion