Juneau Activists Rally During COP27 to Support Protecting Mature Forests

Written by Lauren Cusimano

November 15, 2022

Climate-oriented groups TWECAN, 350 Juneau, AYEA, and SEACC will hold a local event during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) to address how to combat the climate crisis in Southeast Alaska. Juneau’s COP27 Meetup will happen at Overstreet Park — aka The Whale — where these groups will discuss and field questions on climate change from the public and media.

JUNEAU, Alaska (Áakʼw Ḵwáan Territory) — Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), Tongass Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (TWECAN), 350 Juneau, and Juneau Alaska Youth For Environmental Action (AYEA) — will host the Juneau COP27 Meetup during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27). They will address combatting the climate crisis in Southeast Alaska at Overstreet Park — aka The Whale — on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

These groups are rallying in support of durable protections for mature and old-growth trees and forests on federal lands. As the harm from climate change intensifies, including extreme weather, drought, and severe wildfires, groups are urging federal agencies to deploy effective strategies to mitigate and adapt to these impacts. Media members are encouraged to ask questions at the event, or, if they will not be present or are not located in Juneau, submit questions ahead of time to SEACC Communications Lead Lauren Cusimano at lauren@seacc.org.

Spokespeople will include members of 350 Juneau and AYEA, as well Kashudoha Wanda Loescher Culp from TWECAN. “When trees are allowed to do their job, the work product is fresh air,” says Culp in advance of the meetup. “Breathe it.”

Elaine Schroeder, co-chair of 350 Juneau, emphasized, “COP27 cannot afford to be a failure driven by the Big Oil lobby. As António Guterres, the UN Secretary-Genera,l warned at the meeting, humanity is on the ‘highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.’”

Also ahead of the meetup, the Climate Forests campaign has released the “America’s Vanishing Climate Forests” report spotlighting 12 federally run logging projects that include cutting down mature and old-growth forests, eliminating vast amounts of naturally stored carbon, and ongoing sequestration. Overall, the coalition has highlighted 22 projects totaling nearly 370,000 acres of mature and old-growth forests. While the Biden Forest Service has proposed reinstating the Roadless Rule on the Tongass, which would finally restore protections for our country’s largest national forest after a Trump-era push to open vast swaths of the temperate rainforest to logging, a new rule providing safeguards to old-growth trees outside roadless areas is clearly necessary. One of the projects highlighted in this report, located in the Tongass National Forest, is the Wrangell sale.

Federal forests sequester 35 million metric tons of carbon annually, a number that could rise steadily with new conservation measures to let these older trees continue to grow. They also offer other crucial ecosystem values, including wildlife habitat for vulnerable species, watershed function to provide water for communities across the country, and unmatched outdoor recreation experiences for the public.


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