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Kivalina: A Climate Change Storyby Christine Shearer
Synopses & Reviews
While corporate funded scientists continue their effort to spread doubt about global climate change, for one native village in Alaska, the price of further denial could be the complete devastation of their homes and culture. Kivalina must be relocated to survive, but neither the oil giants nor the government have proven willing to take responsibility.
"Shearer, a journalist and academic educated in sociology, tells a moving, infuriating, ominous story of a remote Alaskan Native community's struggle to relocate its village, Kivalina, which is being lost to flooding and erosion due to climate change — induced melting permafrost and retreating sea ice. Kivalina's residents originally moved to this narrow island in the early 20th century, when the U.S. government ordered them to settle permanently on the island or face imprisonment. The villagers, who 'are able to survive in the harsh Arctic region through an understanding of and close connection to the cycles and rhythms of the land,' first noticed erosion of the island in the 1950s, voted to relocate in 1992, and chose a new site by 1998. Their attempts to relocate were frustrated by U.S. agencies who contradicted their knowledge of the area, so the community filed a climate change lawsuit. Shearer provides an impressively concise and comprehensive history of the growth of corporate power in America; its influence on, entwinement with, and corruption of government; corporate obfuscation of industrial hazards, culminating in the fossil fuel industry's frighteningly successful campaign to prevent regulatory action on increasingly confirmed global warming; and the cultural disconnect between Native Alaskans and American agencies whose clumsy, often patronizing management of Kivalina's dire situation has only exacerbated the community's problem. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"This story is a tragedy, and not just because of whats happening to the people of Kivalina. Its a tragedy because its unnecessary, the product, as the author shows, of calculation, deception, manipulation, and greed in some of the biggest and richest companies on earth." Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"Christine Shearer's Kivalina: A Climate Change Story is a fast and bumpy ride that begins with the history of outrageous corporate deceptions through public relations and legal campaigns, continuing with building of the coal-and-oil empire to fuel progress in the United States, leading to the horrendous politics of climate crisis, and finally arriving at its destination, a ground-zero of climate refugee, Kivalina — an Inupiat community along the Chukchi Sea coast of arctic Alaska. I was angry when I turned the last page. I urge you to get a copy, read it, share the story, and join the new global climate justice movement." Subhankar Banerjee, photographer, writer, activist, and author of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land
Book News Annotation:
A journalist and academic specializing in the social impact of science, Shearer examines the law suit filed by the tiny Alaska Native village of Kivalina against 24 fossil fuel companies in February 2008 for contributing to the village's erosion through large greenhouse gas emissions, and for creating a false debate around climate change. She discusses blueprint for denial, shaping legality, fossil fuels and US power, global what?, the human face of global warming, and relocation in a neoliberal state. She has not indexed her work. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
While corporate funded science continues to deny climate change, one native village is already facing total destruction at its hands.
For the people of Kivalina, Alaska, the price of further climate change denial could be the complete devastation of their lives and culture. Their village must be relocated to survive, and neither the fossil fuel giants nor the U.S. government are willing to take full responsibility.
About the Author
Christine Shearer is a writer, journalist, activist, and academic. She is the environment and ecology editor of Economy Watch, and managing editor of the online progressive magazine Conducive. She is also a contributor to Coalswarm, part of the online corporate watch website SourceWatch.
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History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies