Resources: Our Backyard
What are the risks posed by climate change, the oil industry, and mining projects, to subsistence and other historical traditions in remote Alaska? How can those risks be reduced? How are individuals and communities responding? Where are the stories of resiliency?
ANTHC’s Community Environment and Health page has links to the Center for Climate and Health to help communities understand and adapt to climate change in healthy ways and other useful links pertaining to the health impacts of environmental issues.
The website for Alaskans Know Climate Change has a number of solution-based educational resources at their site.
The Alaska Climate Research Center in Fairbanks responds to inquiries about the meteorology and climatology of Alaska. It also archives digital climate records, develops climate statistics, writes monthly weather summaries, and conducts research. It is part of the Geophysical Institute at UAF. It is located on the third floor of the International Arctic Research Center.
The International Arctic Research Center supports Arctic research, coordination and communication to help the nation and the world understand, prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change and beyond. Other teams in the IARC group include the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP), Alaska Fire Science Consortium, Alaska Climate Science Center (AK CSC), the Cooperative Institute for Alaska Research (CIFAR), and Scenarios Network for Alaska + Arctic Planning (SNAP).
Citizens’ Climate Lobby “is a (national) non-partisan, non-profit grassroots advocacy group focused on national policies to address climate change.” Link is for the Alaska chapter.
Despite its name, the Kachemak Bay Conservation Society has a broad scope; video links provide access to clips that explain basics on climate change, ocean acidification, issues around Donlin Mine, and others.
Nancy Lord, an Alaskan author, has written a book titled Early Warming about how climate change is affecting Alaskans. On her webpage for this book, she also has further links for organizations contributing to understanding and acting on climate change issues. She has another page for her recently published novel, pH, about ocean acidification and climate change.
350.org “is building a global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice.”
The Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative’s mission is “to collaboratively develop and implement a comprehensive research plan to understand the causes of the declines and recoveries of AYK salmon.” This website has organized a salmon bibliography, with links to an incredible database of both published and unpublished salmon references from the region.
Ground Truth Trekking seeks to educate and engage the public on Alaska’s natural resource issues through a combination of wilderness adventure, scientific analysis, and the creation of web resources. These are the people who produced the film Where The Heck is Donlin? The Movie, in 2013. Here is a link to their website’s extensive information about the Pebble Mine, larger and more well known.
The BREACH is a film made by fishing guide/filmmaker Mark Titus after he learned about the plummeting of wild salmon populations in his home region of the Pacific Northwest.
The Donlin Creek Working Group provides information and facilitates discussion around the proposed Donlin Gold Mine. Though not as heavily publicized as Pebble Mine, Donlin has similar potential to greatly impact fisheries and communities in the Kuskokwim.
The Salmon Project gives voice to Alaskans’ deep relationships with salmon to ensure that Alaskans’ lives will always be salmon lives.
Stand for Salmon is working to update an old law, (Title 16: Alaska’s Fish Habitat Permit Law) to better protect salmon at a state level from potentially damaging development, by 1) defining a healthy river, 2) promoting responsible development, 3) making sure rivers receive salmon protection, and 4) giving Alaskan a voice in decisionmaking about projects that could impact wild salmon.
The Alaska Center’s mission is to “engage, empower and elect Alaskans to stand up for our clean air and water, healthy communities, and a strong democracy.” From their website: “We are Alaskans working to make our home the best place to live. . . . We work across the state to protect the resources that sustain our families, cultures, and communities, while ensuring that Alaskans have a voice in the decisions impacting our future.” Recent emphases have included salmon habitat preservation, advancement of clean energy solutions as a way to address climate change and to help diversify Alaska’s economy. As part of the Center’s work, Alaska Youth for Environmental Action hosts an annual Youth Organizer Summit to help youth develop community organizing skills.
Alaska Community Action on Toxics: Pamela Miller founded ACAT in 1997 in response to Alaskans wanting technical assistance with environmental contaminants after Greenpeace shifted their focus from toxics to global climate change. The video of Annie Alowa, of St. Lawrence Island, “I Will Fight Until I Melt” is worth a watch to understand some of the issues around toxics in remote parts of Alaska.
Alaska Native Science Commission brings together research and science in partnership with the Native Community. Key issues listed demonstrate the intersections between environmental and health issues pertinent to the north. They also have a useful Other Links index with links to relevant resources categorized under Alaska, Federal, International, and other.
Alaska Conservation Foundation “is the single largest grantmaker to Alaska conservation efforts.” They have multiple funding programs, including the Alaska Native Fund to “advance Alaska Native priorities for protecting our land and sustaining our ways of life.”
Alaska Forum on the Environment is a non-profit that annually hosts a conference that is a “statewide gathering of environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit and for-profit businesses, community leaders, Alaskan youth, conservationists, biologists and community elders. The diversity of attendees sets this conference apart from any other.”
Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska works on behalf of many Inupiat, Yup’ik and Cup’ik communities in Alaska and is a member of the ICC International.
Audubon Alaska works to protect birds and wildlife in Alaska with science-driven conservation.
Alaska Raptor Center (Sitka)
Alaska Wildlife Alliance advocates for healthy ecosystems, scientifically managed to protect our wildlife for present and future generations.
Alaska Sealife Center “generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.”
The Eyak Preservation Council’s mission is “to honor Eyak heritage and to conserve wild salmon culture and habitat through education, awareness and the promotion of sustainable lifeways for all peoples.” They are “in the unique position of having standing in order to represent an Indigenous voice to deflect unwarranted and destructive development issues whether they be promoted by Native, local, private, or multi-national corporations or government agencies.”
Kachemak Bay Conservation Society has a broad scope and some good blog posts about issues affecting much of Alaska including the major mines.
Lynn Canal Conservation is a local grassroots conservation organization for the area near Haines.
The Nature Conservancy link goes to the page for Alaska.
The Northern Alaska Environmental Center promotes conservation and stewardship in the Interior and Arctic Alaska through education and advocacy.
Richard Steiner of Oasis Earth does Environmental Sustainability Consulting, and his website contains links to numerous articles regarding oil in the north. He is a professor and conservation biologist with a long history of work in the north. He provided leadership in response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, proposed and helped to establish the Regional Citizen’s Advisory Councils, and the Prince William Sound Science Center.
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council has been working for over 40 years as a regional conservation organization working to preserve the best of the Tongass National Forest and Inside Passage. From their website are also links to Alaska Climate Action Network, and The Inside Passage Waterkeeper, part of the International Waterkeeper Alliance, which is “the largest and fastest growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water.” Other Waterkeeper groups in Alaska include Cook Inletkeeper and Prince William Soundkeeper.
Trustees for Alaska is Alaska’s Nonprofit Public Interest Environmental Law Firm