I’ve never been a fan of scary movies. All the anticipation and fear of knowing that bad things are around the corner – and there’s nothing to do about it – is not my idea of fun.
I think that’s why I’ve been committed to monitoring salmon stream health during this time of rapid change. I don’t want to fear the future or be surprised when scary things happen. I want to be armed with information and do all I can to prevent bad outcomes.
Having spent 20 years studying how our freshwater systems are – or will likely be – altered by our changing climate, I’m grateful when a summer goes by without record-breaking stress on our cold-water fish. I feel a great sense of relief when the snow starts piling up because all that stored water will fill our streams and wetlands in the summer to come.
But, after recent summers like 2019, we’re all beginning to see what’s lurking around the corner.
We experienced record breaking air and water temperatures, life-threatening wildfires and unprecedented drought conditions. Salmon went belly up before making it to spawning grounds or discovered stream levels too low or too hot to even try. Soon after, federal managers closed the Pacific cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska and cited climate change as the reason.
As Alaskans, we are connected to fish through the foods that sustain us, our recreational activities and our coastal economies. The rapidly changing climate and ocean acidification pose grave threats to our fish and their habitats and, therefore, to us.
Unlike in those scary movies, we aren’t waiting for a big reveal of what the monster is so we can decide what to do. We know the problem is our emissions of carbon and other heat trapping gases. We just need to overcome our fear – fear of change, of disrupting status quo, of committing to a new path.
So, how do we as Alaskans move forward and not just huddle in a corner? We rise up & take action!
Based on conversations in our communities and with the Cook Inlet watershed for inspiration, we are charting the way forward. Our climate solutions include increasing access to renewable energy; supporting carbon-reducing community actions; protecting cold-water refugia for salmon resiliency and building a strong local food economy.
But first things first – we must tackle the monster in the room and stop NEW oil & gas exploration and production. We can’t allow new infrastructure and new fossil fuel deposits to lock us into many more decades of a carbon economy. This is just too scary.
And throughout the 45 days of public comment on Lease Sale 258, YOU were right there with us to fight for better outcomes and a brighter future. You testified, signed petitions, bought art and beer and shared your reasons for taking action.
Thank you for being part of our team and helping us stand firm against forces that try to separate us!
As we look to 2022, the need to transition to a new energy future will continue as will our work to facilitate and elevate climate solutions. Please join us and secure a vibrant future for the Cook Inlet watershed with your donation today.
Thank you for reading. We are able to do this work because of member support from concerned citizens like you. Please donate today to protect Cook Inlet for our future generations.