Organizing for a joyful future — The November Southeast Alaska Climate Report

Written by Matt Jackson

October 12, 2022

Years before I started at SEACC, I worked with teenagers in Alaska’s mental health system, helping them navigate their first jobs, their emotions, and sometimes just making sure they had a safe space at night. I still think about them often in this work, because climate change is far from just an environmental issue. It affects the very atmosphere of our society and intersects with so many issues.

But at the heart of it is whether we’ll have a fair, sustainable planet for future generations. I worked really hard to help those teens gain the skills they needed to succeed, but at a certain point, I started getting more and more worried about the world I was sending them into. That concern eventually led to my climate work at SEACC.

Those concerns are stark. The U.N. recently reminded the globe that we’re rapidly hurtling past 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming and into an ever harsher future climate. But I’ve also been recently reminded by my friends at Native Movement that giving into Doomerism doesn’t do anybody any good either. There is joy, and real liberation, to be found in organizing together for climate justice. We organize not only because we must, we organize because it’s the right thing to do today, a way to feel meaningful joy in our lives and in our communities.

So I’m thinking a lot about those kids this month. We’ve got an election in one week that will determine control of the state legislature and possibly even control of the U.S. House. If you’re reading this newsletter, you’re probably already politically engaged, but I still have to say it — GO VOTE, PLEASE!

Find your voting location if you’re not sure. Drag a friend along. There are few climate champions in Alaskan politics, but vote for the best candidates you can find on climate and energy — the distinctions are apparent in most races.

Voting is of course just the tip of the spruce root when it comes to climate action. SEACC, in partnership with our friends at the Alaska Climate Alliance, is gearing up for a big year in the state capitol. The climate crisis is too urgent to wait for the legislature to get on board, we’re dragging them into climate action whether they’re ready for it or not. 

Our candidate questionnaire was in the news last month, and we’re continuing to turn up the volume with a Climate and Energy Community Forum on Nov. 15. The forum will be focusing on the Renewable Energy Fund and the Green Bank, and I really hope — if you do one thing from reading this email — you RSVP to join the conversation.

In championing policies like the Renewable Energy Fund and Green Bank, our goal isn’t just to pass these bills (they’re good bills, but they’re not enough). Our goal is to build people power to scale up to the kind of climate action we urgently need. I hope you’ll be a part of it!

One last thing, speaking of building people power, Indigenous Engagement Lead Heather Evoy is organizing a meetup for COP27 and the Tongass on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Overstreet Park (The Whale) in Juneau. 

This is right after the Climate and Energy Community Forum, so stay tuned to SEACC’s social media channels for more details on both!

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