Sarah James from Arctic Village shared impacts she’s seen from climate change in Northeast Alaska. James is the chairwoman of the Gwich’in steering committee and she has lived in Arctic Village her entire life. She said that people there are still solely dependent on caribou, 75 percent to their food is still wild meat — caribou, moose, fish and other small animals and birds and duck.
“Climate change is very real in the Arctic. It’s placing the animals — disturbing to the animals — their way of life and in return they affect our life. In my lifetime, you know, I see a lot of growth. A lot of vegetation that comes in as it gets warmer and warmer.
“We don’t get cottonwood trees. A cottonwood tree is down the road from me, which it never was. I remember back from 1950, and that’s really strange. And we never had beaver. Now beaver is something that we have here. So as the climate change come in the animals come in with it, the growth. And many, many lakes was lost within the Gwich’in nation,” James said. “A lot of lakes dried up.
“I think this is a violating of human rights. I think we need to take it to U.N. and say you know we got to stop what we’re doing to the Earth.”