When I first saw the photo of my dad standing next to a pile of snow that towered above his head, I felt my first sense of awe for Alaska. I was three years old.
My dad had gone to Kotzebue, Alaska with the Air Force, and I stayed at home in Iowa with my mom, but the image he sent us etched in my memory. Mind you, my father was tall by any standards, especially a preschool kid’s, and that pile of snow stood mighty tall.
Not surprisingly, I jumped at the chance to take an internship with Trustees for Alaska in the summer of 1994.
Witnessing the tiny firm’s mighty legal hammer firsthand
I learned a lot during those 10 weeks. I met dedicated and skilled lawyers, board members, client partners, and loyal supporters like you who all shared a passion for safeguarding Alaska. I learned that the people protecting Alaska inspire me. I learned to use the mighty legal hammer a small nonprofit firm can wield.
After the internship ended, I found myself dreaming of one day returning.
When a staff attorney position opened up, I jumped at the offer. Alaska has been my home and Trustees my workplace for almost 17 years now, and my awe only grows, because every year people like you contribute and commit to protecting the lands, waters, wildlife and people of Alaska.
The people I work with and the places we work to protect inspire me to be the best person I can be, and as Gandhi extolled, to be the change I want to see in the world.
There is no doubt that the pandemic presents enormous hardships and challenges for everyone. People have lost loved ones. People have suffered serious illness. People continue to worry deeply about their health and their livelihoods.
Yet, even as Americans hunker down to slow the spread of the virus and protect our neighbors, families and communities, government agencies work in tandem with industry to gut the legal protections for the land, water, and air essential to our health.
Let’s keep working together
During this remarkable global effort to save lives, the oil and mining industries plow ahead with projects that will poison the water we drink and the air we breathe, while agencies and leaders shirk their sworn duty to protect public health and safety.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it would not enforce environmental laws, allowing industries to pollute. The Bureau of Land Management continues to move forward with a massive oil and gas project during a public health crisis in which the very people most harmed by the project lack the access or capacity to give public input. The Army Corps of Engineers refuses to slow the permitting process for the proposed Pebble mine.
BLM also issued its final EIS for the proposed Ambler road on the same day that the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority—a public financing corporation of the State of Alaska— voted to funnel $35 million to the project despite overwhelming public opposition.
These actions all happened in the first six weeks of Alaska’s hunker down mandate! We cannot let up.
Whether you give for the first time or increase your contribution, I hope you will join us now to protect what awes us all about this state and its people.
My promise to you is that Trustees will not sit idly by while extractors attempt to erase hard-won and vitally important environmental protections in the interest of “economic stimulation.” We remain committed—now more than ever—to advancing our mission to protect and defend Alaska, our home, for generations to come.
We are in this together. And we are grateful for you!
P.S. I hope you will support us today in any way you can. If you’ve already given this year, and you give more, you will triple your dollars thanks to two matching challenges up to $25,000!