A Wrenching Choice for Alaska Towns in the Path of Climate Change

Erica Goode, A Wrenching Choice for Alaska Towns in the Path of Climate Change. The New York Times, 29 November 2016. Part 6 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. Laid out on a narrow spit of sand between the Tagoomenik River and the Bering Sea, the village of 250 or so people is facing an imminent threat from increased flooding and erosion, signs of a changing climate. With its proximity to the Arctic, Alaska is warming about twice as fast as the rest of the United States and the state is heading for the warmest year on record. The government has identified at least 31 Alaskan towns and cities at imminent risk of destruction, with Shaktoolik ranking among the top four. Some villages, climate change experts predict, will be uninhabitable by 2050, their residents joining a flow of climate refugees around the globe, in Bolivia, China, Niger and other countries.”

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Resettling China’s ‘Ecological Migrants’

Edward Wong, Resettling China’s ‘Ecological Migrants.The New York Times, 25 October 2016. Part 5 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. China calls them ‘ecological migrants’: 329,000 people whom the government had relocated from lands distressed by climate change, industrialization, poor policies and human activity to 161 hastily built villages. They were the fifth wave in an environmental and poverty alleviation program that has resettled 1.14 million residents of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, a territory of dunes and mosques and camels along the ancient Silk Road. Han Jinlong, the deputy director of migration under Ningxia’s Poverty Alleviation and Development Office, said that although the earlier waves were not explicitly labeled ecological migrants, they had also been moved because of the growing harshness of the desert. It is the world’s largest environmental migration project.”

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Living in China’s Expanding Deserts

Josh Haner, Edward Wong, Derek Watkins and Jeremy White, Living in China’s Expanding Deserts. The New York Times, 24 October 2016. Part 4 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world.” [T]he Tengger desert “lies on the southern edge of the massive Gobi Desert, not far from major cities like Beijing. The Tengger is growing. For years, China’s deserts spread at an annual rate of more than 1,300 square miles. Many villages have been lost. Climate change and human activities have accelerated desertification. China says government efforts to relocate residents, plant trees and limit herding have slowed or reversed desert growth in some areas. But the usefulness of those policies is debated by scientists, and deserts are expanding in critical regions.”

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Climate Change Claims a Lake, and an Identity, in Bolivia

Nicholas Casey, Climate Change Claims a Lake, and an Identity. The New York Times, 7 July 2016. Part 3 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. After surviving decades of water diversion and cyclical El Niño droughts in the Andes, Lake Poopó [in Bolivia] basically disappeared in December [2015]. The ripple effects go beyond the loss of livelihood for…hundreds of…fishing families, beyond the migration of people forced to leave homes that are no longer viable. The vanishing of Lake Poopó threatens the very identity of the Uru-Murato people, the oldest indigenous group in the area. They adapted over generations to the conquests of the Inca and the Spanish, but seem unable to adjust to the abrupt upheaval climate change has caused.”

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A Remote Pacific Nation, Kiribati, Threatened by Rising Seas

Mike Ives, A Remote Pacific Nation, Threatened by Rising Seas. The New York Times, 2 July 2016. Part 2 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of the people of tiny Kiribati, and even the island nation’s existence. The government is making plans for the island’s demise.”

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Resettling the First [US] American Climate Refugees

Coral Davenport and Campbell Robertson, Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’. The New York Times, 3 May 2016. Part 1 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. In January [2016], the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems. One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. The divisions the effort has exposed and the logistical and moral dilemmas it has presented point up in microcosm the massive problems the world could face in the coming decades as it confronts a new category of displaced people who have become known as climate refugees.”

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The War on Elephants

Alastair Leithead, The War on Elephants. BBC, 28 April 2016. “How the very existence of Africa’s elephants is threatened by poachers, traffickers and Asia’s appetite for ivory.”

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How Did the Flint Water Crisis Happen?

Cynthia Gordy, How Did the Flint Water Crisis Happen? ProPublica, 25 January 2016. “The water crisis in Flint, Michigan – in which the city’s drinking water became contaminated with lead, bacteria and other pollutants – has come to national attention in recent weeks. President Obama declared a federal emergency in Flint, freeing up $5 million in federal aid, but Flint’s water problems have been unfolding for almost two years. Ron Fonger, reporter for The Flint Journal and MLive, has been writing about the water contamination since 2014, when the city began using the Flint River as its water source. From covering city council meetings and town hall forums, where almost immediately residents complained about discolored, tainted water, he has had a front-row seat to the crisis. On this week’s podcast, Fonger speaks with ProPublica editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg about what caused the problem, who dropped the ball, and what happens next.”

Other resources:

Anna Clark, How an investigative journalist helped prove a city was being poisoned with its own water. Columbia Journalism Review, 3 November 2015. “It was not a typical evening of reporting. In early September [2015], Curt Guyette was knocking on unfamiliar doors in Flint, Michigan—not to ask for interviews, but to ask residents to test their water for lead. Local activists were doing the same thing on sidewalks nearby, and in other parts of town. The task: Muster tests from as many ZIP Codes as possible to give a complete picture of what, exactly, was flowing out of the taps in Flint.”

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The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare

Nathaniel Rich, The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare. The New York Times Magazine, 6 January 2016. “Rob Bilott was a corporate defense attorney for eight years. Then he took on an environmental suit that would upend his entire career–and expose a brazen, decades-long history of chemical pollution.”

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Exxon’s Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too

Neela Banerjee, Exxon’s Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too. InsideClimate News, 22 December 2015. “The American Petroleum Institute together with the nation’s largest oil companies ran a task force to monitor and share climate research between 1979 and 1983, indicating that the oil industry, not just Exxon alone, was aware of its possible impact on the world’s climate far earlier than previously known.”

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