Longreads

Alaska is ground zero for climate change. Miranda Weiss moved to Homer, Alaska, in 1999. Her family relies partly on wild foods to live, and she’s watched these changes mount as both a resident and reporter. For The American Scholar, Weiss talked with six Alaskan women about their practical concerns, their anxieties, and how they’re handling these monumental changes physically and psychologically. Fires burn. Insects descend. Acidity and warm waters damage the marine ecosystem, killing birds and poisoning shellfish. As Weiss put it, “The bad news is relentless.” Melting permafrost doesn’t only topple buildings. It topples the economies and identities of subsistence hunters, Indigenous people, scientists, and commercial fisherwomen.

The changing chemistry of the ocean is not abstract to Hannah. She has a boat payment to make, a student loan to repay.

Across Alaska, there’s a $6 billion economy at stake, one that employs tens of thousands of…

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