I have lived in Alaska for forty-three years, and became aware of Alaska Conservation Foundation (ACF) during a period of intense advocacy for wilderness designation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain. ACF has impressed me over the years with the national recognition and support for Alaska conservation issues it has been able to achieve. All the issues addressed by ACF and their partners – Bristol Bay, the Tongass, the Arctic, climate change – are of great concern, requiring individual solutions, yet all have a common underlying goal of placing habitat, land and people above profit. Profit is important, but not at the ultimate expense of individuals, societies, ecosystems, or our planet.
Facing the past and planning for the future
Conservation in Alaska faces serious challenges, with climate changes trumping all as the biggest issue we face today. As we marched across this continent, having a grand time following our manifest destiny, exploring, experimenting, and developing, we literally “ran out” of room when we reached the Pacific shore. Because of this unabashed frontier adventure, today we are left with small remains of our grand continent’s unique and spectacular character. In regards to the land, it isn’t a pretty picture.
Alaska’s future still hangs in the balance. I consider the decisions we make today our “last chance to do things right” by the land and our first people, and also a tremendous opportunity to showcase innovative approaches to mitigating existing problems and avoiding potential ones. Success for conservation in Alaska means achieving a majority mindset of Alaska’s citizens to exercise sensitivity above all, toward the respect and conservation of her natural landscape. ACF supports the endeavors which strive to achieve this goal.