This 2014 photo provided by NOAA shows Arctic ice coverage. Scientists say Arctic sea ice has reached a record winter low again.The U.S.-based National Snow and Ice Data Centre says it’s the second year in a row that the amount of sea ice at the end of winter was less than any year since satellite monitoring began. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/NOAA

This 2014 photo provided by NOAA shows Arctic ice coverage. Scientists say Arctic sea ice has reached a record winter low again.The U.S.-based National Snow and Ice Data Centre says it’s the second year in a row that the amount of sea ice at the end of winter was less than any year since satellite monitoring began. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/NOAA

Letter to the Editor: Leaders must tackle climate change

We urge our leaders to prioritize climate change and its impacts to public health for Alaskans.

Our planet is changing fast. The reality is that climate change is a part of our daily lives. People of the global majority, communities that rely on traditional foods and practices, and communities in the Arctic are seeing and experiencing these changes in a dramatic way. Most profoundly, Alaska and the Arctic are experiencing food scarcity, contaminated traditional foods, changing weather patterns that impact subsistence hunting and jeopardizing access to food, and witnessing stronger and menacing weather systems.

Another critical concern is how a warming climate and increased mobilization of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), rates of global distillation and deposition in the Arctic, are expected to accelerate — causing large-scale ecological consequences and increasing health risks for people. Moreover, global change scientists predict that accelerated melting of polar snow, ice, and permafrost will mobilize sequestered contaminants and enhance air-to-sea exchange, rendering greater bioavailability of contaminants within arctic food webs.

Arctic sea ice is also a major global sink for microplastic particles. The abundance of microplastics found in a recent study was substantial, ranging from 38 to 234 particles per cubic meter of ice. Microplastic concentrations found in this study are several orders of magnitude greater than those reported in Atlantic waters north of Scotland or in waters of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (Obbard et al 2014). Plastics in the environment leach toxic additives as well as concentrate chemicals that are already in the environment, making them a source of human exposure and harm to health (CIEL, Plastics and Health, 2019).

Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, we urge you to prioritize climate change and its impacts to public health for Alaskans, particularly for Alaska Native citizens that are facing the biggest challenges. We want to hear from you! As our representative in Congress, we the people want you to take immediate action and to be the leader of a just transition to tackle this climate emergency. We need heroic measures and bold voices as we move away from the reliance on finite non-renewable resources like oil and gas to sustainable practices, incentives for the use of renewable resources and the promotion of deeper democracy.

— Samarys Seguinot Medina, Anchorage

More in Opinion

Kate Troll (Courtesy Photo / Kate Troll)
Opinion: The real ‘at last!’ on climate change

In Alaska, the Inflation Reduction Act offers come game-changing features.

The official ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Division of Elections)
Voices of the Peninsula: Check out the ballot before you vote

This kind of ballot is not something you have seen before.

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Why I’m voting for Walker

Walker is the only candidate with the potential to govern effectively for all Alaskans.

Nick Begich III campaign materials sit on tables ahead of a May 16 GOP debate held in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Nick Begich is who Alaska and America need now

It is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of the Republican party

Michael Heimbuch attends a memorial service for the late Drew Scalzi on Aug. 5, 2005, at the Seafarers Memorial on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Point of View: King salmon: The clash of culture and science

People do some pretty awful things to king salmon stocks

State Sen. Josh Revak (Photo provided)
The time has come to end Big Tech’s rule

The hope is that the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) will come to the Senate floor for a vote

Lieutenant governor candidate Edie Grunwald speaks at a Charlie Pierce campaign event at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Election Integrity: An Alaskan question with an Alaskan answer

A needless round of feel-good meetings and what-if conversations will be a thing of the past

This photo shows the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’m a longtime educator, and I’m supporting Walker/Drygas

The issues our state faces are significant with regard to education.

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Congress could keep health insurance costs from rising, but it has to act fast

The cost of health insurance will rise substantially next year for about 13 million Americans

The offical ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Divison of Elections)
Opinion: Alaskans deserve an election system that represents our differences

The new system’s goal is to make this election cycle transparent, secure and easy for all Alaskans to vote

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell (Courtesy)
Opinion: UAA’s career certificates are helping to fill Alaska’s workforce pipeline

At UAA, we are announcing a new suite of certificate programs responding to some of the state’s most critical needs