Effects of Climate Change on Subsistence Communities in Alaska

Callaway, Donald, et al. “Effects of Climate Change on Subsistence Communities in Alaska.” Assessing the Consequences of Climate Change for Alaska and the Bering Sea Region, Nov. 1999, pp. 59–74., www.north-slope.org/assets/images/uploads/1999_Consequences_of_Climate_Change_for_Alaska_and_the_Bering_Sea_Region.pdf.
Year Published: 
Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Although attaching dollar costs to potential impacts had been a major intent of the workshop, workshop group participants (see Appendix) stressed that the two most important aspects of subsistence, spiritual values and community well being, are not easily monetized. It is widely recognized that subsistence resources provide basic nutrition and sustenance for isolated rural communities. However, what is not widely understood is that subsistence resources and the activities associated with the harvest of these resources provide more than food. Connected to the physical challenges in harvesting wildlife resources are the sense of accomplishment and the feelings of self-worth associated with the harvest and sharing of wildlife resources within the extended family and with families throughout the community. Participation in family and community subsistence activities, whether it be clamming, processing fish at a fish camp or seal hunting with a father or brother, provide the most basic memories and values in an individual’s life. These activities define and establish the sense of family and community. These activities also teach how a resource can be identified, methods of harvest, efficient and non-wasteful processing of the resource and preparation of the resource as a variety of food items. The distribution of these resources establishes and promotes the most basic ethical and spiritual values in Native and rural culture—generosity, respect for the knowledge and guidance of elders, selfesteem for the hunter who successfully harvests a resource and family and public appreciation in the distribution of the harvest. No other set of activities provides a similar moral foundation for continuity between generations.

Climate change, Fisheries, subsistence, Alaska, tribe, indigenous