Kodiak has long been a hub for research, but this summer it has become a part of what’s called the Global Ethnohydrology Study. Meg du Bray is a graduate student at Arizona University and is working through the University of Alaska Fairbanks to talk with people in Kodiak about climate change, which is the topic of this year’s study.
“This year we’re really interested in talking to people about issues of climate change and if its affecting them and how its affecting them and especially if its affecting their ability to make a living.”
For about three weeks, du Bray has been conducting surveys and interviews with residents to learn more about their views on climate change. “The first half is more structured more as an interview so asking people more what do you like about living here, how is climate change affecting people here and how is it affecting their ability to make a living – questions like that. And the second half is more close ended questions. So people can fill it out and most of the questions are multiple choice. Things like have you ever experienced or been personally affected by certain kinds of disasters and when you think about climate change do you think it’s going to impact your community in the next 25 years and your health or stuff like that.”
She said people have been very receptive to the study, and overall she said many folks are concerned about what the future holds in terms of climate change.
“Whether it’s here to stay or whether it’s short term cyclical thing – people are definitely worried about how it’s going to impact the fishing industry and that’s my concern too is that’s what this town is based on. It’s what so many coastal communities all over the U.S. are based on. What happens if it really fundamentally changes that.”
Her research will continue for another two weeks, and she said they are looking for more folks to discuss their thoughts on the topic and how it relates to their every day lives.
“We’re interested in everybody’s perspective so you could be somebody who doesn’t think that climate change is affecting you or that it’s even happening and we’re still interested. I’m still interested.”
For now, du Bray said the study is simply information gathering. When she leaves Kodiak she will continue her research in other coastal communities in Alabama with the hopes of seeing how different regions of the U.S. might be feeling the impacts of climate change. For those that would like to partake in du Bray’s study, you can reach her for an interview via email: firstname.lastname@example.org