Presented in partnership with Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Alaska has been the source of myth and legend in the imagination of Americans for centuries, and what was once the last frontier of American expansion, has become the first frontier in climate change. Between Earth and Sky examines climate change through the lens of impacts to native Alaskans, receding glaciers, and arctic soil. The island of Shishmaref has been home to the Inupiaq people for thousands of years. As sea ice retreats and coastal storms increase the people of Shishmaref are faced with a disappearing island and a 200 million dollar price tag to move their people with an untold cost on their culture and history. Permafrost (permanently frozen ground) in Alaska sequesters 40% of the earth’s carbon, Alaska has experienced the largest regional warming of any state in the U.S. increasing 3.4 degrees F since 1949. This warming has created a feedback loop of carbon to the atmosphere and the thawing of permafrost. Mixing interviews with some of the world’s leading scientists in climate change and arctic soils, with the day to day struggle of native Alaskans living on the front lines of global warming, Between Earth and Sky shows the calamity of climate change that has started in Alaska but will soon engulf the globe.