New Bedford’s renewed relationship with Barrow, AK, fostered both through the National Park Service and through the ECHO (Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations) program, brought their traditional whale hunts back into our local consciousness. An article in the New York Times from Monday, features a video and a reference to New Bedford whaling tools still being used in Barrow.
The story is also a reminder that effects of climate change are more quickly and easily seen in the planet’s polar regions. Shrinking polar ice caps are changing the way the hunt is conducted. What is not mentioned is that a shorter ice season leads to longer periods of open water that can be pushed by the wind to increase coastal erosion, another issue facing Barrow residents.