Southeast Alaska Climate Report No. 2

Written by Matt Jackson

April 7, 2022

Though Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is based in Juneau, not everyone knows that I actually live on Sheet’ka Kwaan lands — 90 miles to the southwest in Sitka. Spring is upon us here and the herring are spawning. As I write this, the herring eggs are coming in.

But this herring season has brought our community a stark reminder that fossil fuels are risky business at every step of their use. I spend a good part of my time advocating to keep fossil fuels in the ground and carbon in our trees, but when a tugboat released thousands of gallons of diesel into Sitka Sound on March 21, just a few miles north of where I’m typing, it brought the many side effects of our addiction to fossil fuels into sharp focus. SEACC will be working to test herring egg samples for potential impacts from this spill, but we won’t truly be safe from these threats until we’ve built a fossil-fuel-free world.

Diesel Sheen in Neva Straights, on the shores of the Tongass. Photo: ADFG

Be a part of the movement.

Luckily there is a growing movement across our region, our state, and our world to get off fossil fuels. On April 11, 350 Juneau is organizing a statewide action at Wells Fargo’s branches demanding an end to fossil fuel financing, including the downtown Juneau branch and the Sitka Branch. You can follow 350 Juneau on Facebook for more information or email me about how to get involved or organize an action in your own community.

350 Juneau and SEACC are both a part of an alliance of nonprofits and activists around the state working toward a Just Transition away from fossil fuels — and toward a more joyful, prosperous, and equitable future. That group, the Alaska Climate Alliance, also has an active Facebook presence. If you join, I promise — in addition to lots of good information and actions — I do my best to post weekly memes.

And finally, Earth Day is coming up. 

I have mixed feelings about Earth Day. Days are literally rotations of the Earth. Every day is Earth Day. And sometimes it feels tokenizing to have all our environmental concerns packed into one day, ignoring the long history of folks who stewarded these lands long before the first “Earth Day” in 1970 and who continue to do so, often with little fanfare. Nonetheless, we have this one Earth Day, and given the urgency of the climate crisis and the intense beauty of this Earth that deserves to be celebrated instead of destroyed, let’s do this right. A few ideas:

  • There will be a green jobs fair at Juneau-Douglas High School on Monday, April 18.  Email if you are an employer who would like to have a table at the fair.
  • You can attend the Earth Day rally on the Alaska capitol steps Friday, April 23, at 12:15 p.m.
  • Contact me if you want help organizing an event in your community!

Yes, fossil fuels are literally killing our planet at every step of their use. And yeah, it’s hard to transition off of them. I drive a gas-guzzling rusty old pickup and skiff around. But we can be part of a community that’s celebrating what we do have and working toward more and more solutions at ever greater scales. So join the movement!

This will be the last time this newsletter is sent to our whole list, so if you’d like to continue to receive these emails, make sure to sign up for our climate newsletter mailing list! You can opt out of these climate emails, at any time. And if you want to get even more involved, shoot me a message. I’d love to hear from you.


Matt Jackson
SEACC Climate Organizer

You May Also Like…