Happily, the sun has returned, with wild flowers, devil’s club, mosquitoes, bears, and salmon right behind it.
It seems like spring prompts us to clean up after the long winter. We rid ourselves of what we don’t need and make room for what we do. We plant seeds and cut back brush to make room for new growth.
We spend more time outside, more time with our hands in the dirt, more time with our waders in the water. This is what living demands of us–welcoming one season for what it gives and asks of us, and accepting that it will soon make way for the next.
Alaska’s shoulder seasons give us glimpses of the coming and going of these transitions, and these natural cycles nourish us–the sun, the rain, the mushrooms, the fish, the berries, the decay, the chill, the snow, the darkness, the regeneration.
Sometimes people talk about “progress” as if life moves in a straight line, but I see progress as what we learn from each full experience–the knitting of a sweater and then the enjoying of its warmth and the accomplishment, or the nurturing of a tomato plant from seed to salad to seed.
For over ten years now, the people of Bristol Bay have lived through phase after phase of Pebble’s intrusive exploration, sales pitches, shifting project design, and co-opting of agency process. This tiring, exploitive, bureaucratic pressure forces them–over and over–to defend water, fish, communities and their ways of life against the false equivalency of an Outside corporation’s drive to take and take and take.
Pebble’s way does not sustain healthy growth. It necessarily leaves destruction and ruined livelihoods in its wake. It pads the already bulging pocketbooks of very, very rich people who care very, very little about sustaining what nourishes us–the habitat that has supported Bristol Bay communities for millennia.
Once the last public hearing on the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Pebble mine is over, and the May 30 deadline for comments comes and goes, the U.S. Army Corps will have received thousands and thousands of comments, hundreds of thousands, maybe even a million, against the proposed Pebble mine.
Bristol Bay folks will get back to mending nets and boats, and preparing for the salmon to come. If there is one thing we have learned from the people of Bristol Bay, it’s that the real returns are in fish, not stock options.
Thanks to them and all of you for supporting and protecting the cycle of life in Bristol Bay .
|PS: Your support of Trustees for Alaska is critical now more than ever.|
Speak up before May 30 to protect Bristol Bay fisheries and communities.
Thirty years ago, the “highly unlikely” happened in Prince William Sound. A giant oil spill altered Alaska forever. Here, Trustees for Alaska board members reflect on the Exxon Valdez oil spill 30 years later.
Join us in fighting for clean waterways and healthy communities.