In the summer of 2014 the Backpack Journalism Project traveled to the town of Bethel in remote south-western Alaska. Bethel is home to the Yup’ik people, one of the largest native groups in Alaska. The region suffers from some of the worst rural poverty in the United States. This poverty is made worse by isolation, extreme temperatures in the winter, and the enormous cost of goods and services. Many of these people live without electricity or running water and rely heavily on subsistence fishing, hunting, and berry picking. All of this takes place in the context of a wild and largely intact tundra wilderness, which is currently threatened by planetary warming.
In this project we explore themes key to the Backpack Journalism Project including the relationship of the Church to culture and the injustice of poverty. Here we also consider the impact of climate change both on a sensitive region of the earth and on some of the world’s poorest citizens.