The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Shishmaref, Alaska, out to sea

Leaders of Shishmaref — an Alaskan coastal village that’s washing out to sea — told residents they must choose another relocation site for the town ("Weathering the storms," December 2004).

The long-chosen site of Tin Creek on the nearby mainland is plagued by degrading permafrost.

“It’s more-or-less ice and not anchored enough for a town,” said Darlene Turner, a leader in the traditional Inupiaq village and president of Shishmaref Lutheran Church. “It’s disappointing and puts us back at square one.”

Shishmaref is among the three most imperiled Alaskan villages endangered by erosion and flooding due to climate change, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

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