The last American Thule

The traditional daily life of the Iñupiat people of Alaska is being affected and endangered because of global warming. Barrow, officially known as Utqiaġvik, is the largest city of the North Slope Borough in Alaska and is the northernmost town of the U.S. Located well above the Arctic Circle, it has been home to the Iñupiat, an indigenous Inuit ethnic group, for more than 1,500 years.

The last American ThuleBarrow can be reached only by plane while the supplies arrive only by boat. It’s called the “ground zero” of climate change and is considered a world outpost to check the effects of global warming. Here everything is really impressive: the thawing of the icepack, starting a month earlier compared to ten years ago; the coastal erosion, up to 300 meters a year; the consequences of the melting permafrost on the coastal villages, forcing people to emigrate. Barrow is a vantage point of view not only on the rising energy and geostrategic importance of the Arctic but also to look at the Inuit daily life, divided between the defense of their culture and the defense of their right to participate in the exploitation of resources.

The reportage was published on L’Espresso magazine in Italy.