Responding to Climate Change in Alaska

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Shopping for Porcupine: A Life in Arctic Alaska by Seth Kantner
Beginning with his parents' migration to the Alaskan wilderness and extending to his own attempts to balance hunting with writing, Shopping for Porcupine  . . . [is] a fascinating account of life on North America's last frontier. "My memory begins under snow," [Kantner] writes, recalling his early and longstanding respect for the old Inupiaq ways, cold nights on caribou hides, swimming in the ice floes for wounded waterfowl, home-schooling, and fur-clad travelers stopping with their dog teams for visits. Captured in breathtaking photographs and essays, these details combine to reveal a landscape like no other, and to crystallize the turning point in a life when the "wonder about the hunger of those people of the past" is at odds with a foreboding sense of becoming "some strange yuppie who likes muktuk and frostbite." Bracing and humorous, perceptive and profoundly illuminating, Shopping for Porcupine offers an ode to respect--that oft-forsaken, unromantic quality--for the land, for animals, and for "something as virtuous as gathering food."

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The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change by Charles Wohlforth. Climate change isn't an abstraction in the far North; it is a reality that has dramatically altered daily life. In this gripping account, Charles Wohlforth follows two groups as they navigate a radically shifting landscape: the scientists who attempt to decipher its smallest elements and to drive from them a set of abstract laws and models, and the natives who draw on uncannily accurate traditional knowledge born of long experience living close to the land. Together, they illuminate a world in flux and a way forward as climate change reaches us all.