Climate Change Adaptation

Adapting to the environment has been part of the Iñupiat culture for thousands of years. It is what makes the Iñupiat survive and thrive in the Arctic. On a global level, adaptation to climate change has become a larger concern. The effects of climate change could impact biological and societal environments. The Iñupiat will continue to adapt to their surroundings and engage with organizations on this issue. Locally, the North Slope Borough has begun funding and developing climate change strategies. The resources below aim to circulate information from all Arctic regions to better understand climate change adaptation.

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Resource Development

Since the 1970s, oil and gas development has provided the economic lifeblood of the Arctic Slope region. Through its property tax on oil and gas organizations, the North Slope Borough has been able to build infrastructure and provide necessary services to the local residents and communities. All of the village corporations as well as the regional corporation have received economic benefits from resource development allowing for improved employment and educational opportunities.

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Infrastructure

The North Slope organizations and the services they provide are vital to empower, sustain and improve our residents’ living conditions. Infrastructure creates economic development, jobs, enhances safety and improves local communities. Nevertheless, developing infrastructure takes time and planning amongst organizations. The websites below are a list of current and future Arctic infrastructure developments.

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Housing

Availability and high quality housing in the North Slope is important to the well-being and health of families. To have a vibrant community, homes must be affordable, designed for the Arctic and functional for families to have a safe environment. North Slope houses are often overcrowded. Housing is a complex problem due to a combination of factors including land ownership, availability, affordability and overcrowded conditions. Below are resources and tools to better understand the North Slope housing environment.

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HEALTHY HOMES & INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Our homes are where we sleep, eat nikipiaq and spend time with loved ones. Healthy homes are the foundation of a strong vibrant community. However, rural Alaska Native children have some of the highest rates of hospitalization for respiratory diseases in the world. One contributing factor to this epidemic is poor indoor air quality in home environments; smoke, road dust, and mold and moisture intrusion can all have a negative impact on respiratory health and put children at a high risk of chronic illness. VOICE aims to provide knowledge and tools to help create healthy home environments by improving indoor air quality and minimizing air pollutants.

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Subsistence

The land and marine animals are the foundation of Iñupiat life. A subsistence lifestyle links Iñupiat cultural values, traditions, identity and language. In addition to connecting cultural practices, an Iñupiat subsistence way of life provides nourishment for our people. Protecting subsistence resources and maintaining the lifestyle is vital to continuing an Iñupiat way of life for future generations. Below is information to understand the regions subsistence resources and their co-management organizations.

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Economy

Understanding how the North Slope region creates, exchanges and uses various goods and services is valuable for making decisions in everyday life. The oil and gas industry is vital to the regions economy. It creates jobs and generates tax revenue to help fund essential services for the North Slope Borough. Through economic growth we can improve our quality of life and productivity.

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COST OF LIVING 

Maintaining a good standard of living is essential for a healthy community. In the North Slope, the Iñupiat values of cooperation, subsistence, family and sharing create a mixed economy. Our economy incorporates both traditional subsistence and cash economies to help alleviate higher costs of goods and services. In addition to high food costs, transportation, a high unemployment rate and the high cost of fuel required to engage in subsistence activities makes it difficult for a household’s ability to buy enough food to feed their families. Reducing the high cost of living is an ongoing issue that is constantly being addressed.

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Unity

At a community and regional level, being united is integral to resolve concerns. Being unified allows improved relations and an understanding of diverse knowledge within our region. Socially, joining together in Iñupiat traditions and working to improve cultural issues such as revitalizing our Iñupiaq language creates community and continues our Iñupiat lifestyle. Applying our values will ensure we can unite together to solve our local and regional concerns.

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Arctic Policy

It is through the purpose and goals of VOICE that we continue to work towards our vision of improving the cultural and economic sustainability of our communities. Policies that protect Iñupiat culture, improve unity, ensure sustainable economic development, and promote Iñupiat stewardship are essential to us.

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Culture, Education & Research

The Iñupiat traditions, values and language enhance the quality of life and improve the well-being of the people of the North Slope. The Iñupiat culture provides us with important social and subsistence benefits, which allows us to come together to increase tolerance and opportunities. Through our language, food, music and arts, we will continue to be united and practice our way of life. As our responsibility to the region, Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat aims to pass along information and tools you can use to create a healthy Iñupiat environment.

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