In mid-February, I had the opportunity to attend the Alaska Forum on the Environment in Anchorage, Alaska. The conference was attended by over 1,500 people and included a film festival, poster sessions, keynote speeches, and dozens of presentations.
Spread over a vast area of the Upper Great Lakes, members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians live mainly in the seven easternmost counties of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Overall, they have nine housing sites, five casinos, and seven health centers.
Change doesn’t happen on its own. It’s led by dedicated and passionate people who are committed to empowering Indian Country to energize future generations. Leading the Charge is a regular feature spotlighting the movers and shakers in energy development on tribal lands.
Nestled in Northern California’s Mad River Valley between the coastal mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the Blue Lake Rancheria is bordered by great forests and the California Redwood trees. It’s a sacred and hard-won swath of land for the Tribe that calls it home, and preserving it for future generations is paramount.
Jasmine Ramero learned how to weatherize homes through a program supported by the Energy Department, as a member of the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. She has distinguished herself and was honored as the National Corps Network's Corpsmember of the Year.
With the help of a U.S. Department of Energy grant and in partnership with the Clallam County Public Utility District, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is saving money on their utility bills after installing ductless heat pumps in 42 tribal members’ homes.
On February 17, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz announced the launch of the Generation Indigenous Native Youth Challenge at the 2015 United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) Midyear Conference.
Suzanne Singer is working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as an Energy and Thermal Fluids Analyst where she has an ongoing project to produce Sankey diagrams to analyze energy data and life cycle flows on tribal lands. Applying the knowledge and insights she gained from her work at LLNL, her internship, and her science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Singer is educating Tribes on how to use their own resources and land to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Tribes and Alaska Native Villages feel the brunt of a changing climate in direct and significant ways that undermine their cultures, economies, and the overall general welfare of their citizens. Unfortunately, they are too frequently left out of federal and state climate preparedness and resilience efforts, both in terms of planning and disaster response. And they generally lack sufficient governmental capacity and financial resources to prepare for and respond to major climate-related events on their own.