• Cultural Continuity and Communities and Well-Being

      Martin, Stephanie (Rural Development Institute, Brandon University., 2012)
      This paper describes a household survey of Inuit in northern Alaska and how the survey data were used to better understand the relative importance of jobs, wild food harvesting, and social ties for life satisfaction. It emphasizes the importance of non-material measures for life satisfaction. It builds on other research showing the importance of harvesting wild food and the persistence of a mixed economy—one that combines cash income and wild food harvests. An empirical model estimates the relationship between people's choices to work, and/or hunt and fish, and individual satisfaction with life. The model includes economic and non-economic measures of well-being as well as community characteristics and shows that what matters most for satisfaction are family ties, social support and opportunities to do things with other people. Jobs, income, housing, and modern amenities—are less important among arctic Inuit. This research addresses the purpose for the original survey project—to give a more realistic picture of life in the Arctic by showing why people who live in remote, isolated, communities, with low incomes, and substandard housing are very satisfied with their lives. It also contributes to public policy in remote regions and efforts to understand how people are adapting in a rapidly changing environment.
    • Ocean Acidification Risk Assessment for Alaska's Fishery Sector

      Cross, Jessica; Evans, Wiley; Hauri, Claudine; Hurst, T.P.; Ekstrom, Julia; Colt, Steve; Lucey, Noelle; Cooley, Sarah; Mathis, Jeremy; Feely, Richard (Elsevier, 2015)
      The highly productive fisheries of Alaska are located in seas projected to experience strong global change, including rapid transitions in temperature and ocean acidification-driven changes in pH and other chemical parameters. Many of the marine organisms that are most intensely affected by ocean acidification(OA) contribute substantially to the state’s commercial fisheries and traditional subsistence way of life. Prior studies of OA’s potential impacts on human communities have focused only on possible direct economic losses from specific scenarios of human dependence on commercial harvests and damages to marine species. However, other economic and social impacts, such as changes in food security or livelihoods, are also likely to result from climate change. This study evaluates patterns of dependence on marine resources within Alaska that could be negatively impacted by OA and current community characteristics to assess the potential risk to the fishery sector from OA. Here, we used a risk assessment framework based on one developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to analyze earth-system global ocean model hindcasts and projections of ocean chemistry, fisheries harvest data, and demographic information. The fisheries examined were: shellfish, salmon and other fin fish. The final index incorporates all of these data to compare overall risk among Alaska’s federally designated census areas. The analysis showed that regions in southeast and southwest Alaska that are highly reliant on fishery harvests and have relatively lower incomes and employment alternatives likely face the highest risk from OA.Although this study is an intermediate step toward our full understanding, the results presented here show that OA merits consideration in policy planning, as it may represent another challenge to Alaskan communities, some of which are already under acute socio-economic strains.