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The web of life is sometimes freezing. Take, for instance, what’s happening in the Alaska Arctic. In one of the largest remaining wilderness ecosystems on the planet, the frigid place is home to the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, and is also a hotspot to study the effects of climate change. What becomes of the caribou if climate change continues unabated? Further, what becomes of those that live, and depend, on the caribou, like the indigenous Iñupiat people, if the caribou disappear? The interconnectedness of us all is hanging by a thread.
Seth Kantner has spent a life hunting, studying, and living alongside caribou. His new book, A Thousand Trails Home: Living with Caribou, encompasses the historical past and present day, revealing the intertwined lives of people, plants, and animals in the deep wilderness of Alaska. It’s a complex issue. One that involves politics, race relations, urban versus rural demands, cultural priorities versus resource extraction, all of which swirl around the lives of Rangifer tarandus: the caribou.
Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat from the Seattle offices of KNKX Public Radio News, where she has worked since 1999. She also has a deep interest in indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.