Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rural Alaskans create Web site to share examples of changes in climate and the ecosystem

Rural Alaskans are using the Internet to share information about the climate and ecosystem changes that are happening around them to better understand how the environment affects their lives. It's a lesson in how rural Americans anywhere can use technology to overcome the obstacles of distance -- which are even greater in the roadless "bush" of Alaska.

Alaska Newspapers, a chain of weeklies, reports that the year-old is a product of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, whose executive director, Brad Garness, created and runs the site. “People who live a subsistence hunting and fishing lifestyle generally have a unique view regarding climate change and why animals behave the way they do,” he said.

Even though Alaska has long been on the front line of climate change, this is the first site that invites rural residents to share their experiences. Nunat allows viewers to fill out a reporting form that provides scientists detailed accounts of some of the environmental changes occurring. Items posted so far include a polar bear lying on the beach after swimming to shore last fall and a school of salmon with unusual spots and deformed spines on the Yukon River. (Read more)

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