Published on January 2, 2015
To expand activities in the Environmentally Sustainable Systems core funding area, Erol Foundation set out in 2014 to learn more about the complex balance sustainable industry and environment in Alaska.
Policymaking for a more resilient Alaska
In December, the White House exercised executive authority to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay from all oil and gas leasing projects, including a pending oil pipeline that would change the ecosystem irreparably. President Obama said of the decision, “It’s something that is too precious for us to be putting out to the highest bidder.”
The announcement of the increased protection of the 52,000 square mile Bristol Bay watershed marks another accomplishment in the advocacy work of these organizations. However, despite significant warnings from the EPA about the environmental hazards of the proposed Pebble Mine, federal officials are still considering going forward with the project.
Over the course of 2014, all of us at Erol Foundation followed the progress of two of our newest grantees in environmental advocacy, Alaska Conservation Foundation & Bristol Bay United. This past summer, we had the chance to glean new information and first-hand experiences when we traveled to the region on an Amplifier Strategies Learning Journey.
Sustainable Environmental Systems in Southwest Alaska
Erol participated in a Sustainable Environmental Systems Learning Journey to Southwest Alaska in July. We explored Alaska’s mineral-rich land and vibrant aquatic ecosystems. Conservation scientists and marine experts, grassroots organizers, native subsistence fishermen, and commercial fishermen shared their insights along the way.
Trip highlights included:
Over the course of this Journey, we saw the visible impact of industries on ecosystems and local livelihoods and began what will likely be an ongoing discussion of the social and ecological changes taking place in Southeast Alaska. Thanks to all our expert guides and the team at Amplifier for making the Learning Journey come to life.
Take a look at this video that captures some of the issues we covered, from the wild salmon runs to the transboundary mining industry: