As a result of climate change, "Warmer winters and changing ice conditions meant hunters were unable to bag the Pacific walrus the Savoonga residents traditionally relied on as a key food source," Leschin-Hoar writes. "Three years ago, the situation became so dire, the governor declared the island an economic disaster to help loosen assistance funds. The debate here isn't over whether climate change is happening. For these rural communities, the question is whether they can continue to survive there."
|St. Lawrence Island is the northernmost island on the map.|
Cara Durr, director of public engagement for Food Bank of Alaska, told Leschin-Hoar."In places like Savoonga, suddenly you've got an 80 percent reduction in the amount of food you're used to having. There aren't a lot of jobs on these islands, and to say to people they now have to go to the grocery store—it's just out of reach for a lot of these people. And there are hundreds of communities like this. You can't just snap your fingers and send more food. It's incredibly expensive to ship food out there."