150° W, Alaska, USA

Longitudinal Installation by Xavier Cortada

“We are at a crossroads. . . Is it practical to stand and fight our Mother Ocean? Or do we surrender and move?”

— Shishmaref Mayor Edith Vorderstrasse

Two-thirds of the food that people consume in Alaska comes from fishing and hunting in their town areas. Industrial emissions and waste along with climate change and habitat invasion have created a decline in fauna all around Alaska and their nearing sea waters. Many of the villages that are close to the coast have been threatened with sea-level rise and ice melting, causing flooding of homes and infrastructure damage. For many of these communities, relocation has been the most probable way to address the situation. However, it will make communities lose their connection with the land, as many of these have been living in their exact spots for centuries. Although moving inland may be the most realistic solution for many Alaskan villages and towns, the cost of rebuilding complete communities and facilities is high. Given its location, construction is not as accessible as in the rest of the United States or even northern America.

Recently, climate change activists have discovered that Alaska is warming up at twice the rate than the rest of the United States. The permafrost melting is leaving many communities exposed to strong storms and significant damage. In 2016, it was calculated that Alaska is the fourth state in the country with the highest emissions, due to the heavy drilling and burning of Alaskan oil. Despite the heavy atmospheric effects that Alaska is suffering from, there has been little addressing of climate change in the government.