To Laureli Ivanoff, climate change is far from an abstract idea. As an Iñupiat writer living in the remote Alaskan town of Unalakleet, she’s seen firsthand the warming planet’s tangible impact on her culture’s food traditions, some of the only practices to survive colonization. “Ice fishing or hunting or just going out and enjoying ourselves, there’s no way to really do that if there isn’t any snow,” she says. Animals that rely on snow and sea ice, such as the ugruk—or bearded seal—are harder to find as sea ice melts, leaving subsistence hunters concerned for their livelihoods. Although local native communities have weathered many historic hardships before, Ivanoff believes the challenges ahead are unprecedented. “Already every year, we’re wondering, ‘Is the ocean ice going to form? How much longer are we going to have it?’” Watch the video above to learn more about the disappearing traditions in the American Arctic.
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