An Alaskan island is losing ground

Kivalina aerial

Beneath a moonlit Arctic sky, Joe Swan Jr. and most of his 12-person crew were taking a cigarette break when a dump truck arrived and emptied another load of black sand at their feet.

The backhoe driver, who happened to be his wife, gunned the engine, spewing a diesel haze into the air as she dug into the pile and filled another 2,500-pound sandbag for the sea wall shielding the island from the Chukchi Sea.

The crew has been repairing the $3-million wall almost since the day it was completed in October 2006.

They bring more sand. The ocean takes it away.

Kivalina is disappearing, the victim of a warming world and a steady natural erosion that probably began long before the Eskimos settled here 100 years ago.

Source:  Los Angeles Times

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