Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2013

Earth Day began in 1970 as a response to an oil spill. The idea was to push more people to think about the problems that were plaguing the country’s air and water, hopefully leading to a caring nation working toward a solution.

The first April 22 Earth Day had participants in two thousand colleges and universities, roughly ten thousand primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across the United States. More importantly, it "brought 20 million Americans out into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform.”

It now is observed in 192 countries, and coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network, chaired by the first Earth Day 1970 organizer Denis Hayes, according to whom Earth Day is now "the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year.” Environmental groups have sought to make Earth Day into a day of action which changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.

This is not just a holiday for kids.  While it may be true that it is an educational day – the goal being to educate as many people as possible about the problems Planet Earth faces…I can’t see why this would be something to teach only our children, since our children are the ones we should be most concerned about saving our planet FOR. 

In the words of a Native American proverb:

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."

It is 2013: Climate change, greenhouse gases, the great Pacific Garbage patch, struggling polar bears – all buzz words in today’s news aimed at striking a nerve.  In an age when we’re more likely to talk about “going green” instead of “saving the environment”, Earth Day has become somewhat of a commercial opportunity for the hoards of companies with green products to sell. I thought maybe we could use this day to celebrate the Earth. Be thankful for what we have and think about what we might do, instead of what we might buy, in order to help the planet and keep those things we’re thankful for.   Hopefully one day our children’s children might appreciate just the same on their April 22 Earth Day.

For now, take a look at this video and see how much difference one person can make with something as small and trivial seeming as an old Pepsi bottle…it might just brighten your day.








Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Attention AK High School Students!!

All high school students from around the state looking for an interesting summer opportunity are invited to apply to attend Salmon Camp 2013, which will be held from July 24th – 30th on the shores of Lake Aleknagik in Southwest Alaska. Space is still available for this fun, intensive and exciting science based field camp.

We are looking for students from across Alaska who want to take part in a wilderness experience in Bristol Bay while learning about the natural history of salmon, the environment, sustainable and renewable energies and more.

The annual camp is partnership between the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation and the UAF Bristol Bay Campus with assistance from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA. Students will earn 1 college credit from the UAF Bristol Bay Campus. Numerous scholarships covering travel and the camp costs are available, apply today!

Applications forms, videos of past camps, and more information can be found here: High school students living in a BBEDC community can contact Pearl or Charlene at BBEDC (907) 842-4370 for more information about attending Salmon Camp.

If you have any other questions call the UAF Bristol Bay Campus at 907-842-5109.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Scoping Comments Submitted!

Where are we in the NEPA Process? 

April 2, 2013

The scoping period for the Donlin Gold Proposed mining project ended on March 29, 2013.  Georgetown submitted scoping comments that will be addressed along with the rest of the public’s comments in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

Members of Georgetown Tribal Council met with the US Army Corps of Engineers on March 4, to discuss the project and questions regarding the environmental impacts of the project.  As a result of this meeting and much research, GTC came up with a document of scoping comments to be addressed and submitted for their review. 

Issues covered in GTC scoping comments included the impacts of the Jungjuk port construction and location, the natural gas pipeline, and increased barge traffic along the Kuskokwim, as well as some general comments and questions from members of Georgetown.

These comments were submitted to the Army Corps, who is the lead agency on the NEPA process.  Under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the Corps has 3 responsibilities - NEPA and EIS process, the determination of the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative (LEDPA)under 404 b1 guidelines, and the Public  Interest Review.

The EIS is the primary document used to make decisions about permit issuance.

It is important to distinguish between them and Donlin.  Donlin Gold is the one hoping to implement the project; the Army Corps is responsible for completing the NEPA process which will help decide if permits required for the project will be issued.  It also helps to ensure the most environmentally responsible course of action is taken, should permits be issued.

All public comments received in the scoping period that ended last week will be addressed in the first draft EIS due out in August of 2014.

Following the issuance of the Draft EIS, there will be a final public commenting period. 

As this process moves forward, I will be sure to keep you informed, and as always please don’t hesitate to send me any questions you may have.  If I don’t know the answer, I will be happy to find it for you!