Monday, July 16, 2007

Check out this article in the Anchorage Daily News

Sarah James, from Arctic Village, has written a nice Compass op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News.
Please click on the link to view her article

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Little Things

Consider these "Little Things" as simple ways to change our behaviors. We are living in the dawn of the Environmental Age, where we must re-think how we do things and be conscious of our carbon footprint. It doesn't mean doing without, it simply means doing differently. These behavior changes usually save you money as well - BONUS!

Computers - Be sure to turn off your computer when leaving it for the night. You can also program your computer to go into sleep mode or hibernate while away from your desk for an extended length of time. Most PC's do this by clicking on Control Panel and choosing Power Options. (I assume Mac's are similar; post a comment if you know). If you're in a large office, see if your IT person can program this from the main computer. Taking a few minutes to set this up, you’ll save 100kWh to 600 kWh per year depending on your computer-use habits. That adds up to between $8.50 and $51.00 a year saved. Screen Savers do not accomplish this energy savings. It's the little things...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Making a difference
by: Lori Hanemann Fickus

photo: one of the trash patrol Axel Snyder, age 4
How do you combat climate change? You do something. Something in your home, something at your job, or something in your community. Selawik is doing something. Selawik is located at the mouth of the
Selawik River where it empties into Selawik Lake,
about 112 km (70 miles) southeast of Kotzebue.

The youth in this community, rallied by Mothers for Alaska member Hannah Loon, have been picking up massive amounts of trash. In June, Hannah stated, "I would like to report that today, we picked 49 bags starting from Native Store to Ingram's. Then we moved to other side to school side on the board walk."

She also said the young people are curious about what else they can do. It is exciting times when mothers around Alaska are going into their communities and creating change. A response to climate change must begin with behavior changes. Each of us must reduce our carbon footprint - how much carbon dioxide we're putting into the atmosphere from home electricity use, driving cars, running snow machines and four-wheelers, and many other actions we need to be aware of. First comes education on what can be done, and then comes the time to change the behaviors - the way we do things.

Picking up trash is a terrific start to helping your community. Residents will appreciate their new beautiful community, and this will reduce litter, and in the long run, perhaps people will use less packaging, reuse items, and reduce how much they buy. Changing their behavior. We can all go out and pick up some trash; who knows where it will take you!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alaska Climate Change Impact Assessment Hearings
Kotzebue, Alaska
by: Lori Hanemann Fickus
The Climate Commission Hearings were held in Kotzebue in June.
Before the actual Hearing, the Commission members toured one of the villages suffering from significant impacts of Climate Change, Kivalina. There they were able to see, in person, what they've been hearing about for months.
Residents of Kotzebue turned out for the important hearing, as well as people from nearby villages. NARF (Native American Rights Fund) once again arranged funding for travel and accommodations to make it possible for several Alaskans to make it Kotzebue to give their account of what's going on in their villages. The emotional and powerful testimonies from the people living their daily lives with these impacts had to sink in (pun intended) to the minds and hearts of the Commission. I am so thankful they are getting out to the rural communities to hear the human element of global warming, in addition to the scientific data they've been gathering. The indigenous knowledge is equally, if not more, important in factoring the impacts.
Northwest Arctic Borough Mayor Siikauraq Martha Whiting was invited to give testimony to the Commission. She provided important details for the Commissions permanent record, and had an interesting idea, "Having an Inupiaq word for it might help convey the urgency". I'm intrigued by the idea of having a word in the major Native Alaskan languages to convey the urgency of the issue. Climate "Change" sounds gradual and un-alarming. What's going on in the Arctic is rapid and urgent. I hope she pursues her idea. She made another good point,
“It’s something that you watch on CNN,” she said, “But it’s something that’s right in our face.”
I hope mothers and the rest of the population in the lower 48 can learn what is happening up here now, will trickle down to them in the near future. The Commission's report is to be turned in January 2008. If you haven't testified already, you can send in your testimony in writing. Please send them to Legislative Staff Tim Benintendi