« Reveal

To the ends of the Earth

2019-06-01 | 🔗

We travel the globe, from bottom to top, to confront the growing threats from climate change.****

Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey. It is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restore we about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it is our duty to fight attacks like this, but fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs, are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars? Luckily we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative,
it takes time and it cost money. If you believe in the work, we do, the absolute best way to support us is by becoming a member of reveal to do it just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven standard data rates apply and you can text stop or cancel at any time Also all new members who donate at least five dollars a month. We get our facts, t shirt again just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven, and all you who already support our work, I would offer a deep sincere thanks. We can't do this work without being willing afforded twenty twenty. We have big things plan, so let's go to some good work together from the centre for investigative reporting in p r eggs. This is reveal a malady, and today we are going to the end of it
to report on climate change, we begin in an hour. This is penguins nearby fleets. Glacier fleets is a huge glacier. More than half a mile thick and the size of great Britain and is no surprise, is melting. Many scientists are predicting, the sweets may be doomed to crumble into the ocean. If that happens, global sea levels could rise up to two feet. Just from this one glacier but that's not even the bad news, because this glacier is holding back another colossal sheet of ice kind of like a court in a wine bottle. If all of its slips into the ocean sea levels could rise by eleven feet. A few people have ever stepped off waits glacier.
And no one has ever travel by sea along the glaciers front. Until now, a group, a scientist, spent two months, a border research vessel to Studieth weights of close reporter Carolyn be learnt from the public radio show the world join them in this first of its kind expedition my dear He starts on a windy day at the end of January, at a port near the southern Tipp of Chill egg, I walk across the gangplank toward an icebreaker the length the football with nearly sixty scientists, staff and crew just walked on the ship, their new home for eight weeks in port, the Nathaniel be polymer feels solid and stable. Like a floating college dorm with a cafeteria and bright green flooring, but as we fail safe, from Chile and threw open ocean twenty foot swells posset around, like it's
little thing one day about a week into the trip keyboards are scattering across desks in the computer lab chair. Crash from one side of the room to the other I get thrown. Of the one I'm sending it wait a minute. Bruise on the back of my head is my first reminder this trip of the power of the ocean, but it will be my last. This same ocean is responsible for melting weights. Glacier. Winds are now pushing warm ocean waters up underneath part of the glacier that extends out into the sea. If that part rigs off the entire glacier would be vulnerable,
early into our journey. I talk to Rob Larder the ship's chief scientist about research, suggesting the collapse of tweets is inevitable the suggestion walls, the voiceless, should already passed the point of no return. Whatever you do know the retreats israeli inevitable rob works for the british. Arctic survey he's travelled to Antarctica nearly two dozen times. If they are, the question then becomes how fast, as it going through how fast we going to lose. That ice is towards collapses. It would push up sea level. Around the world entire neighborhoods in Boston where I live, could be underwater from Miami too much by cities across the globe would mean to plan for that sea level rise, but Rob says I dont think everybody is convinced that it is unnecessary and of its foot the moment. Are you convinced that its inevitable of keeping an open mind you? I think I hope it's not as bad as
it was viruses because I've got teenage children and like them to live in a world where it's not a disaster scenarios. Resale south. The spectre of this glacier comes over me. This research is sobering, but action doing. It is also exciting new ones ever been in front of the main part of tweets glacier where we plan to go. Basically, we have no idea what the ocean that further Peter she and work at the University of EAST Anglia in the UK, he's never been to Antarctica before once we get to tweets he'll be measuring much warm water is reaching it for the very first time, so that is, that is really exciting. Those kind of lot harking back to the ancient age of until dick exploration, if we're going somewhere, that no one's ever being before new ones been there before, because the sea in front of much of weights is usually covered and ice
We break through some of that eyes in route to the glacier the ship slams its we know is on thick slabs of ice to crack them. Then sales through the black ass of open water, the best placed to report this is inside the bow of the ship. I can feel When we go over it, you can do to feel vibrations of the best ship going over the ice, and this is also where the food is store. So I'm watching some giant bottles of olive oil shape, as I record You can hear the dumping and then scraping against the front of the ship. This shaking stops as we get closer to the glacier The area is nearly ice free. The morning were sent to arrive wait. I set my alarm for four a m and get out of my body to walk up for flights of stairs to the bridge
and there it is a clear of ice, six or seven stories tall. The captain and cheese made of silently navigating along its base, it still dark and Bobby and they use a spotlight to look for a stray icebergs snowing and the beam of the spotlight on top of the ship is lighting up, a column, swirling snow, Peter is working the night shift and comes to look out the window. With me, The long wall of White ICE in front of us almost glows in the darkness to experts, because its huge looks like notes of the iceberg and we ve seen this just keeps going lobbyists The light colored mystical I kind of blue
tinge everything I'm whispering, and I don't know why Google image everything these days. So idiotic the picture and I share of twenty four hours ago. This is what I would have thought it would have looked like there's something about seeing it in person the reference that you know spring, and you don't know why whispers in front of Google images. Nobody has been where we are now known as the sun rises, the ship wakes up and people stream up here to the bridge. The mood shifts from reverential to celebrate Ory almost like a party, Scientists leaned against the railing on the catwalk that wrapped around the bridge, joking about how their itching to drop scientific instruments into the sea here
rose. I remember this is the first time humans have sailed across the front of the glacier like we're doing now and were close about the length of a football field away, but it feels even closer, almost close enough to reach out and touch its chalky, sir this or the cracks that glow awkward marine six decks up. We can't quite see over the top of the glacier. I watch the ice go by for a while. Rob it's fantastic. This is a critical bowed dream in the world today. This is where rapid changes really happening and where we are actually standing and looking at the bidders rapidly changing as the day progressive mood sheets to something more somber, because we start to actually see those rapid changes.
I shall be usually look like vertical Swift's walls of ice, solid and several stories tall with flat tops like a butcher block table, but as we travel along, the glacier face, waits looks anything but solid and standards being toward the sea almost like a sand dune curving down rushing rolling off the actual cliff not very high us all. So Doesn't look like eyes shows I've seen before, like Rob, liars from the University of Saint Andrews and Scotland spends the next few days puzzling over the shape of the ice sheet he's struck by the parts of the glacier that jacket and bumpy like piles of giant rocks covered in blankets. Now this one looks like big icebergs and eyes: cubes just frozen together, it looks quality and did not surprise you absolutely
I'm surprised me, but even the experts weren't expecting this the glacier would so obviously look like its falling apart, while we're so ending up on the bridge. Sonar equipment attached to the bottom of the ship is mapping the sea floor below us for the first time test run to Haiti late in the afternoon as fog cocoons, the ship Joey Patterson, tries to bounce her voice off the lumpy glacier face in front of us. You can buy your voice, o joy. Would later tell me this
weird moment for her, both thrilling and sad, because this jumble, the glacier in front of us it's almost like staring climate change in the face. A few minutes later she and Marine ecologist Keyboard Loto spot a corner of ice nearly cleaved off the glacier. Looking forward any second, he jokes he could almost Why would away this want their turn better? for Peter, seeing the jumbled up face of the glacier made climate change feel less academic. Knowing hasn't changed. They know. I know that we know really good position thousand changed, but maybe fails a bit more real. Now, a few days later, the map of the sea floor right in front of the glacier is filled in Peter, and
oceanographer have measured the temperature of the water in front of waits for the very first time. All of this will feed into models that will predict how soon tweets might collapse. And how much it will add to global sea levels when it does, but the cat turn that large boomer asks is when we're gonna do something about it. We have to change policies. The question is: how long will Take because the longer we wait the worse these impacts, we'll be back at the beginning of this trip. Chief scientist rob large
told me he was keeping an open mind about whether the collapse of weight was inevitable at the end of our crews. I ask him that same question. Again, there have been studies published, suggesting that waves is passed, its tipping point and its collapse is inevitable. Do you think that is the case through? I think it's the case, I think that's more likely than laws and does he think the entire Mexico sized piece of ice, around waits will also collapse. I guess, if you ask projects hundreds of years into the future, The some amazing change where we women to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than I think. Yet. The western toxic ice sheet is ultimately doom down very roughly, that would mean the storm surges that flooded, lower Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy or become permanent. The new
baseline seal fur. The bigger question now is how fast that'll happen after more than two months away. I fly back home to Boston or the airport is surrounded by the Atlantic. Look now the window at the runway, is dead ending into the ocean when I in Antarctica feels hard to shake killer. Beeler is rapporteur for the public radio show the world you can find more. Toys from in Attica at the world dot Org slash in article of next. We go from the bottom, the globe to almost the very top. How melting ice is changing global military strategy? The Arctic? That's next
on reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and Pr Ex, whose is with the amendment. This is the root of the world. The vast desolate structure, polar wasteland, call the ark this air force. Mary tells the story of a monumental construction project. The nineteen fifties at the height of the cold war- the? U S in Canada. Together to build a series of radars all the way across the Arctic. Officially, they were known as the distant early warning. They called it, starting in the west at a point above the Arctic Circle in Alaska, it would stretch across. Alas, the canadian Arctic for three thousand miles. Do learn, radars acted, is kind of a trip were looking out for We had long range bombers because the quickest route to attack went over the top of the earth
modern bombers, carrying modern bombs over the polar Icecaps went across the arctic circle at midnight. They could virtually any canadian or american city before dawn nearly seventy years later, so The same rate our sights are still in use still crucial to international security reporter Michael Day away from the public radio station Ok, you and see in Colorado has been investigating how climate change is threatening. Some of these, eight hours, imposing new risks to the National Security of United States. Major Christopher her hand escorts me through a locked metal gate he's with the the error. National guard at joint base. Elman Dwarf Richardson in Anchorage desired, executive cod.
At a security door. He fumbled to punch numbers into a key pad in him out like that it takes to get in your life major per him, is wearing a green flight suit with a patch that says eyes of the north inside the building takes me down a long haul way. Past framed photos of old military aircraft to another security door entering more codes. So what you see here is the operation southward, nor had stopped inside a square room about forty troops in American in canadian uniforms, huddle around flashing computer screens This is the one hundred and seventy six AIR Defence Squadron twenty four hour. Today, every single day of the year troops are in this room. Keeping watch we have approximately forty operators on a day to day basis back and
the mission we have several sections who got identification of. We have surveillance, by surveillance, major per him means using radars to monitor more than a million miles of airspace over and around the Arctic. There not just looking for russian bombers, their finding them gambling american and canadian fighter jets outside this building. If twenty two raptors sit at the ready So if you turn around there's a wall of stars that we have and every time we can ownership star up As I turn around, I see plaques a lot of them They lie in the wall. Each small, thin blue of rectangular would represents in intercept a time. When fighter jets were sent up to meet and potentially shoot down foreign aircraft, us a snapshot and time of where we intercepted what type of aircraft we intercepted and that the day these plaques go back decades, almost like a
time line of tensions between the two countries- nine, ninety, ninety one. So that's the end of the cold war right that was the end of the cold war. The black slow down around the time the Berlin Wall came down, then stop completely by nineteen. Ninety four, we had guy sitting here for this mission in our intercepting russian aircraft, and nothing can. We were just practising practicing and practising the same, but then in the early two thousands. I noticed the plaques pick back up again and then we started, something more russian aircraft, as you see, in fact, just last week. In an unusual show of force more than a half dozen russian bombers and fighter jets were intercepted off the coast of Alaska. Thanks in large part to nor at radars, but three in our sights at the centre of this operation are now in jeopardy because of climate change
sea ice used to protect them, along with the support buildings and airstrips needed to keep them running, but now the arctic ice as well. Storm surges endanger the rate. Our sights therefore says it's all happening way faster than predicted. It will cost a small fortune to protect. These radars adjust one location. A mile, long sea wall made of stone will total forty eight million dollars and costly the other two sides haven't even been released. Yet. Want to get my eyes on one of these radars. Up close, I meet here course, Colonel Dan Lemon at the bases airport. Girl recording. Can I can I we want to play an absolutely only where we're going ten city along Bering Sea I plan? visit radar at sea level, one of the ones threatened by climate change, but because of weather districts, Colonel Lemon says we're going to ten city on a clear,
you can see Russia from their hopefully at the pilots have told me that there must be a clear date, but in Alaska the weather can change on a dime, but this whole, but keep that way too. Cities, a spectacular radar station perched high atop, a mountain and almost invisible because its painted white, like the snow, we get into a small plane with two propellers to pilots, to PR staffers and the guy Colonel lemon calls Chief, his right hand, man, I sit facing the colonel and we just chat I ask him what he thinks of Alaska people always say your period, I loved her hated, my loving words and once really friendly small town feel animosities kind. It just make you feel like you're part of the family
Definitely, gods countries see that today, as we take off, we get a glimpse of mount knowledge. North America is highest peak, rising from the clouds veer west toward the Bering Sea. Looking out the window I see chains of nameless mountains and twisting frozen rivers that stretched to the horizon as much as I'm flying over the middle of nowhere. I met the heart of a military universe, therefore, official shared a map to help me understand why it shows in Ankara. At the centre of the world or is a nine hour flight away, Moscow on beijing- are only about eight hours away. That's because the Arctic is a short cut to the other side of the globe. An enemy aircraft using that short cut could become harder to track. If any of these radars or knocked out by climate change every
thing. You re all the sites that you say is that we have under arrest, Maybe the speed at which this is gonna happen, former Secretary of the Navy Re Mavis. This is not the radical. This is, danger today in March Mavis in fifty Eight former high ranking military and national security leaders wrote a letter to President Trump Admirals generals, secretaries of state and since all signed. The letter include It's the line, climate changes real it's happening now, it's driven by humans and it is accelerating. The group was responding to new said, the president had created a new team to review military intelligence documents and question any instance where climate change was mentioned as a threat to national sick. You already it's like. Ok, we don't like the facts, so we're going
try to muddy the waters. We're gonna try to change the the science here. This is new in twenty seventeen, the Trump Administration stripped most climate change references from the Defence Department report on National Security strategy Mavis. Another leaders are beside themselves because they believe the president is ignoring one of the biggest threats facing the country, not just in the art but everywhere. If we don't do something to reverse our slow the sea level rise. The large may base in the World Norfolk we'll go underwater, it will disappear and it will disappear within the lifetime to people alive today, it's, not just former leaders who are worried in January, the Defence Department identified seventy nine military bases at risk because of climate change. The threats include: drought, wildfires, expanding deserts
In the case of those alaskan radars, flooding and thong I'm a frost. Finally are playing arrives at the edge of it all the slow black waters of the Bering Sea, Colonel lemon points out the window at a mountain. That's where the radar round ball from here it looks like a golf ball perched, a top, a white pyramid. I ask how people up to it very carefully whether one at the base of the mountain is ten city which is in a city at all. It's a shaped military installations, the plane, bounces down softly on a gravel landing strip appeal officer, jokes envelopes of ownership rights on American. What the heck
as the plane door opens a single gust of wind sucks, the heat out from the cabin a zip up. My coat in all the others down the steps onto the icy runway. There are blue skies. And it's cold about, eight degrees, Fahrenheit We make our way to a large garage and come face to face with a red tank looking vehicle its many all. Those are right that can take ass injures too, lemon tells me it's called a pissed in this. Is we're going to get to the top of the mountain to the golf ball. I pile in fact with the colonel, his chief and the pr officers. The cabin is basically a box with two benches facing another its tight. We squeezing shoulder to shoulder with vehicles like item transport
tell me, the journey will take about an hour along a steep winding road carved into the side of the mountain wide enough to fit the bully going one way up or down nothing else. The bullet, Rocks is the driver hops into the cap, which is separate from us, so the colonel said, to him by Walkie talkie ready a plough front, clears snow and ice as we begin rumbling up the road about a year ago, Colonel Lemon says a huge storm iced over the door that leads to the radar troops had to be called in to hack away at any time it's a problem with the radar here. There's a problem at nor read too. They don't like sites being down with writing to back up the pissed Only creeks insurance, as we climb switch back after switch back, whose get more harrowing I'm on the inside the mountain side, the kernels is sitting on the other side. Looking
right down, he says the track is right off the edge of the cliff so All of us sit back deeper and our seats gripping our gear tighter Go down. I don't hang on hang on the pistol bully comes to rest on a small hill in front of the radar. There's a porch extending from the doorway that looks almost like cake with layers and layers of vanilla, icing spray painted on our driver chips away with a shovel before opening the door We entered the radar room, it's filled causing machinery? I wonder how far across the bring street. Can the radar see
Can I tell that's what is guess? I know I know not doing it again. Plasma most everything appears classifiable data. I climb up a small flight of metal stairs and now I'm under the radar as close as I'll get to it just above my head, electromagnetic waves pulse and travel some classified distance away right, How this worrying, Lucian relic is guarding against nuclear attack and it's connected to a string of other radars doing the same thing together there that trip wire that early warning and because of climate change, their vulnerable.
When permafrost is no longer perma when Sea ice becomes see. It's not just cars that are made vulnerable There are also huge economic stakes play the coastguard, estimates. The Arctic holds thirteen percent of the world's undiscovered oil, a third world's undiscovered gas and about one billion dollars in gold, platinum, another minerals. As ice melts, many of those riches will become available for the first time. And Russia is laying claim to drink. It has major risks, you re going to their new US, took on standards. Certainly much gallipoot steer in his annual address to the federal assembly. Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about expanding shipping channels in the Arctic, which would trim thousands of miles off merchant trips by twenty twenty five Putin says. Arctic shipping could grow by ten
times. Russia has also reopened arctic military bases that have been shuddered since the cold war, for republican Standards and Sullivan of Alaska. All of this raises alarms as the the ices receding our strategic interests as a nation and, to be honest, our sovereignty as a nation become increasingly important. Senator Sullivan worries the? U S is ready for climate change in the Arctic and that Russia is he points to icebreaker This is an example, ironically, icebreakers will become even more important as sea ice thins, because you need them to keep shipping lanes open and Russia has an arctic armada. The Russians have forty icebreakers, some of which are nuclear powered in their building. Thirteen more money but your weapon ized. By contrast, the? U S, only has to icebreakers and they're both for decades old. So while President Trump
continues to deny and debate the causes of climate change here in the arctic potential foes like Russia are preparing to take advantage. To gain the upper hand. I turned back to former Navy secretary re Mavis to see what he makes of what Russia's doing the very notion that they are spending all this effort in the Arctic. Makes a day a far more dangerous place It is no longer the case like it was for a long time that the Arctic was pretty much non political and it was because You couldn't get there much. No one away to exploit those minerals on the sea floor or there were shipping lanes and now because of climate change, there is, and so the chances of encounters that may go wrong go up and they go up.
More dramatically. The more the ice melts back in the past in Bali, the radar fades behind us as we descend this, which backs we round the corner, and there I get a great view of the bearing straight the bully stops on a ridge and we all get out to look contractor. Jeff Bolts points it to specks out in the middle of this great there about fifty miles away, but the low they're gonna run by me, then the big parties, big diamond I Lodi, maids america- began Russia and beyond that, as a squint. My eyes are mountains that seem to go forever the russian mainland. Looking That reminds me of something the former commandant of the. U S: coastguard Paul's, who comes told me: he compared Miller.
Very strategy and the melting Arctic to a board game. He says Russia's playing high level chess and the Euro He says is playing plain old, checkers, like a day a lotta is reporter. Was public radio station kid you and see the really Colorado military. Installations of the only thing at risk in Alaska, for next door will head more than a hundred miles further North Carolina, a native village. They could soon disappear off. The face of the earth- that's next on reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and p r.
From the centre for investigative reporting in p r. Ex this is reveal banality, for a final story would travelling to occur the village in Western Alaska above the arctic circle. A village that, because of climate change, could be underwater in less than a decade, it's called kill, Billina kids are the first thing you notice in Kiev, Alina they play outside they ride all over on snowmobiles in four wheelers. They seem to be everywhere. What are you doing here? That's reporter Emily sway you're playing. What are you playing cards? am in humans are their vampires in Kivu. Alina now is playing here just saying: ok, the village sits. Sliver of sand and gravel. It's a barrier island, just eight hundred feet wide and about half a mile long
with water on each side the lagoon says to the east and then a vast stretch of trees can enrolling, snowy hills to the west is the Chuck cheesy in winter, the deep blue black waters covered in nice and extends to the horizon. Hence the microphone rain down. Don't yell! Look azure blue, my you! If you do that you I'm list so it hurts my ears had what tell me your name, I mean Sea ice acts like a buffer. It protects the village from storms, but in a warm and climate is not as much ice as they used to be informed. Earlier in the spring, allowing giant waves, the pommel, the island so bit by bit putting an erosion or swallowing Catalina and the lives of a few hundred people live here, including these kids are in danger
the last point. I dont know that song dressing it for me, I don't I don't really know it is a good sign personally to relocate the village usually hanging out there the surest way to keep people safe, just move them permanently to relocate the village. In fact, residence here have been asking the federal government for help with that, since at least the nineteen sixties, Emily is in Kiev to find out why, more than fifty years later, that still hasn't happened she has been ground, cheeks, jewish, think overalls, and she drives per fast about a quarter mile from the centre of the village. We stop smoking. Thirty years old and a mother of five. She has been ground cheeks shores think overalls and she drives pretty fast.
About a quarter. Hail from the centre of the village. We stop. So Kelly can show me where her aka is buried. Means grandmother and a new beyond the indeed this language people speak here busy quiet, woman hours there To be cutting caribou teaming up, I have lots of stories, but I dont know what to tell on this side of the landing strip, rows of wooden crosses spoke out of the snow. They long shadows in the springtime son. Oh there, she is, Llewelyn highly yeah well. Your grandmother was born in nineteen twenty four year, unheard as is here my dad sister. Even stalker, yes, is to say your whole family here nearly every one in Kivu, Billina is alaskan Native, a newbie AK. They ve lived in this
region off the land for more than ten thousand years huntings a way of life. Main source of meat seals. Caribou all kinds of fish. Does it make? You said to think that in a hundred years maybe- grave sites may be gone, it could have. In ways sooner the? U S the core of engineers, estimates that by twenty twenty five all of Kivu Lena could be tiredly underwater in a big storm. That's only six years from now please, ancestors, didn't choose to live here at least not permanently the anew pm. Used to spend summers intense along kindliness beach, they go fishing and take boats across the lagoon to pick bear Greece and when winter said in they'd, move inland Todd Caribou for food, in other words, They were some nomadic, but in
one thousand five. The federal government bill to school on the island and parents were threatened with jail time or losing their king altogether, if they didn't send them to school. Ever since people have lived on this tiny spent, sand and gravel we take Kelly's break read for Wheeler a few hundred feet around the active runway to wear the Chuck t meets the island. Last fall, a storm brought gale force, wins Kelly, says joy waves eroded and enormous piece of the beach bout twenty feet: high and fifteen free of land going out or s ok, she raises her arms above her head to emphasize how big the waves got. The piece of land Washed away was about as long as a pickup truck and as well. It is a city. Bus Karun occurs,
The runway, maybe like five feet off the runway, so we're like great. There was scary, it was scarier. It wasn't too, where we have few evacuate there is no evacuation plans that could quickly get people to higher ground nuts, because the only way off the island is by boat or plain, which may not be possible during a big storm. Kelly- and I talk this second airplane of the day- arrives with a mail delivery and food to keep store star. Some of the passengers coming home from doctors, appointments in Anchorage, it's gonna, we are to be standing right here on the that its march. Thing is buried under a thick crossed of wind buffet snow. So I can't see this and or the gravel that washed away, but there are hints at what happened
observe giant sandbags. Half the size of a small car peak out of the snow local Volunteers used heavy machinery to pile them here years ago in an effort to protect the runway. This past fallen winter Catalina was hit with more than a dozen storms peoples, days of big wins highway. And there was less ice than normal to protect the shoreline residents like hell, You have mixed feelings about what to do. I keep thinking like carbon double thoughts to move out of Catalina, but then my family here, I never left here. I'm not thinking to leave now, but I was thinking in the future. Maybe I should leaving as complicated. Imagine if you aren't our community had to move how would you in your neighbors handle it? How would you do
side were to rebuild everything: schools, houses, local businesses, and how would you pay for it way up here? Construction costs Fourchan people and give Alina have been grappling with these issues for decades and working with state and federal agencies to come up with a plan find a place where people are safe. That also allows for to preserve their unique culture, but the price so is mired in red tape and bureaucracy, and the clock is ticking. This spring was one of them Warmest ever in Alaska in March, see I some bearing and chuck. She sees was at record low levels for that time of year without that ice to protect them putting an erosion into Billina, are getting worse I'm here visually their grandmother, Cecil Hokey cool Lucy.
Adams lives in a small gray house that overlooks the Chuck GC she's one of Kivu Venus. Few remaining elders outside the door. Pulse hangs in the wind. Next to that a rabbit pout and the Reddish Brown first His skin cut from the lower legs of a caribou. The rest of caribou is surely tucked away in a giant chest freezer outside the door Lucy states that are kitchen table in front of a sewing machine slowly piecing gather a new lining for fur coat a party she calls. It she was born in nineteen. Thirty, three, the coffee mug table, says so aged to perfection. Do you think you have a good place now feel safe living here on the island. I can understand you outta talk too fast.
Lucy, looks at me sideways, scratches up her nose and shakes her head. Her first language was not It was a new back. I was asking if you think that this the island is a good place to live or not Dave anymore. It's eroding it's getting small now achieved to live here. We always just paid. Be safe until there's a plan and government money to help relocate the village Lucy. Stuck fuck your where it no longer feel safe, but also stuck in limbo. It would be good to have learned what age Dave going back and forth to this wider cook and to watch this is given Lena, has never had running water, and since the village needs to be located regional. Instead
leaders won't help install it on the island. This is the case with lots of infrastructure needs. Why beef up the sea wall build a new school or put in pipes for water system if it's all going to flood through this grey bucket by your door. Here is peered this word, so that's the water and his eyes a wider drinking. Were there there's a huge thirty gallon gray. Rubber trash cans filled with water next to the door. This water comes from the Kiva Lena River, seven miles away, Lucy's, grandson, chops, giant chunks of ice out of the river, calls at home for her with a snowmobile every day. That sounds like a lot of work to do.
Do you ever dream about? Having like a basque or a shower, the brewing mistrysted dream can happen. Lucy drop surgeon to her chest, inspects or handmaid shirts, accosts back its probable, her favorite color. Then she grumbles one more time quietly to herself, but it can't happen to give Alina Lucy said She tells me it's just a dream Lucy and a lot of other people I talk with within Catalina, are really frustrated. They have to keep going without without running water. Without enough housing without a school. That's big enough for all the kids who live here. By far, though the thing people are most frustrated about is that there are still here.
Living on this island, where their lives are in danger, Milly Holly, is kindliness tribal administrator. Our people have fought and fought and fought. Our parents and grandparents have fought and fight and discuss and discussing have, meetings over time and again millions this is straight. Her mood is dark. She seems exhausted for decades, she's been fighting to make relocation happen day in and day out what the federal government's with local governments with the state Tom, hey we need help here when you guys caused us to know dear by calling our people just attend school here in the Early two thousands she thought maybe give Alina was getting close to finding a way off the island, the whole village for at least a decade to agree on a new location. They finally came to a consensus on Are they wanted to move, but two thousand six report from the? U S:
the core of engineers called the site infeasible. You should have seen and heard carefully about than when they thought that document it was like. We had a funeral for at least seven years. We grew. There was no hope there was no, ah no more fight. I was dismal. The army core report describes the villages site as GEO technically inappropriate and strategically problematic. In other words the ground, was unstable, mostly gravel, and on top of that climate change threatened to erode the land there too. But the report says the do nothing approach, wouldn't work either and says village, definitely needed to move and more than it I gotta go. That cost was estimated at two hundred seventy five million dollars republican son.
Early summer, Caskey of Alaska says it's never been clear as where all that money might come from I plan may be identified, be practical fist Oh reality of how we implement that plan becomes a much greater challenge. The money to move to Billina could be pulled from a tangle of state and federal agencies. Likely more than a dozen. I've interviewed people from those agencies for this story but I didn't get any clear answers about how kindliness relocation might happen one agency FEMA even has emergency management in its title, but because of the way, Congress allocates disaster response money, the agency doesn't seem fully equipped to respond to a slow moving disaster caused by thinning since sea level rise in the age of climate change Senator MC says things need to be streamlined. In my
view there is no, at one agency that is in charge that makes this in larger problem when it's not coordinated residents of Kivu Billina could become some of America's first climate change refugees, but It won't be the last of the. U, government can't help keep these four hundred people above water. How will it respond as the climate crisis groves What about when rising, sees threaten much larger cities like Miami Charles, Stan and New York. I just why ask you, if you think the federal government is ready and prepared if something were too Ben today, to deal with you know so called climate change refugees. I would say no direct,
the answer is we are not, as a government prepared, I think most people would say no. Late in the afternoon as the wind picks up in the snow begins to blow around. I find myself way on a giant hill on the mainland across the lagoon from Kiev. Millie Holly, and I drove about seven miles to get here from up here when they We came out here on a brand new evaluation rode after years of The village is finally getting one is still under destruction, but it could help solve another problem when its complete the road to the site of a new school right. We're standing, merely says, It could be opened. My twenty twenty one place to think about home one day merely wants to see the entire village move up here, where it safe from the sea.
Not everyone likes this location and there still no funding to make that happen in a. Out of ways relocating give Alina is still just a dream, but millions feeling hopeful the first time in a long while. You seem so excited, oh, my goodness, Faced reporter Emily swing for that story earlier today for this week shows Catherine S Gaspe, Red Myers It's it's today show thanks to Peter Thompson and Andrea Crossing, the public radio show the world for working with us on the story from an article into the international sweets, glacier collaboration and everybody aboard the Nathaniel, be Palmer research vessel thanks also to kill. You ever see public radio in Greeley Colorado for partnering on story about those military radars in the arctic production. Man
Oh gee would Emma window in a original scores, down designed by the dynamic, do o J Breezy, Mr Jim Briggs, Fernando my man, Gill Aruba. Their help this week from Caitlin Benz The EU is Kristen sharpened birth met. Thompson is our editor. In chief, our executive producers, Kevin Sullivan theme is accused by comrade of lightning support for veal provide, by the Raven David Logan Foundation, the John Dene Craventy Macarthur Foundation, the janitor Logan Family Foundation before foundation the hiding Simons Foundation and the ethics and excellence in journalism? Foundation reveal physical production of the centre for investigative reporting in p r eggs, a mallet and remember, there is always More to the story.
These are last few shows of the year, and let me tell you in twenty twenty we are bringing the fire launching some of our most ambitious projects we ve ever done. I can wait for you to hear them reveal, is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter and this kind of investigative journalism. Well it takes time and it costs money. These are the final weeks. Bar end of the year membership campaign. We depend on listeners like you to help make this work possible to support us just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven state of data rates apply and you can take stop or cancel at any time again just texted I'll do for seven four, seven, four, seven, let's go! Do some good work together or tax.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-19.