Blocking the Ice Melt

The feedbacks you post are out of your willingness to ‘because in the matter’ of creating a better world through environmental actions. Thank you for taking time out to respond to the blog and sharing your lives with me. It is these little acts of patchwork that brings us together. Patchwork is a creative way of bringing different pieces of cloth to create a new design. It always begins with small pieces coming from different places and origins and combines to create a design. It creates a completely new design from the old, the discarded and the small. Similarly when a new a new world order gets created, the pieces of different actions from people in different areas of life come together.

Wanted to share with you a news item by John Schwartz in the January 28th 2010 paper of International Herald Tribune as what appears to be a beginning piece and part of this emergent new world order. “Kivalina an Inupiant Eskimo village (in Alaska USA) of 400, perched on a barrier island north of the Arctic Circle is accusing two dozen utility companies of helping to cause the climate change that it says is accelerating the island’s climate change”. They use the sea ice blocks are used to protect the town’s fragile coast from high wind season. But this year they could not do it. The relocation cost of this village could amount to $400 million.

The case is one among three major law suits filed by environmental groups, private lawyers and state officials against major utility companies. It is a difficult battle and federal judge dismissed their suit, but they are appealing the decision. The cases rely on the common law doctrine of nuisance, the same concept that allows the neighbours to sue one another over noise odor and the like, that interfere with the use of enjoyment of property. In the context of climate change these used to be dismissed as frivolous, not any more. Similar issues with drug companies as captured in the classic ‘Silent Spring’, Tobacco companies and asbestos industries in the past have yielded results.

But this is just the beginning. The pressure from such suits could become a significant issue within the next few years. Let us wait and see. Blocking the ice melt.


Environmental anthropologist by training, been in the field for over 20 years, Gialome (pseudonym) is mainly concerned with the impacts of infrastructure and technology projects on local communities.

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