We’re 500 miles south of the Arctic Circle and the crew of the Esperanza has already come face to face with the dire effects of climate change.This last week we docked in Seward, Alaska to make final preparations to sail around Alaska on this summer’s Save the Arctic Tour. In our off hours, the crew was excited to get off the ship and explore Kenai Fjords National Park. But on our hike to Exit Glacier, we couldn’t miss the impacts of climate change.
In the last century the glacier, just one of many in the park, has receded several miles. And the rate of recession has accelerated dramatically in recent years as the region faces warmer summers.
But not only is this a troubling sign for one of our nations great places, it is an ominous of the changes the crew might witness above the Arctic Circle. In 30 years we have lost up to 75% of the volume of summer Arctic sea ice.
Not only is the loss of sea ice fundamentally changing important habitat for wildlife like polar bears, walruses and more, it is also bringing about great human changes as well. Some communities must relocate as the sea level rises while the changing ecosystem threatens the food security of others. All the while, oil companies see this as an opportunity for profit and are moving in.