The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council partnered with artists to produce a fan magazine incorporating art submissions from people concerned with climate change.
“The whole project started because I had a friend who cares a lot about climate change,” said Matt Jackson, climate change organizer for SEACC, in a phone interview. “She said, ‘I wish I could send Murkowski a picture about how I feel about climate change.’”
In spring, SEACC organized a series of workshops for people to create art based on the theme. The arrival of the coronavirus shook up the timing in some ways, but helped people find focus in others, Jackson said. Artists in Southeast Alaska, including Katie Craney, Naawéiyaa Tagaban, Matt Hamilton, Janine Gibbons and Ellie Schmidt, helped host the workshops virtually.
“It set us back like two weeks because we were all floored,” Jackson said. “It took us a few weeks to get back on track with zoom. But once we did it was a great medium. A lot of people saw parallels between COVID and climate change. Both are massive social problems. We can’t fix these alone.”
After speaking with Schmidt, head of the Selkie Zine Collective, based in Sitka, Jackson said they decided to compile some of the art submissions into a zine, soon to be available digitally or in local bookstores around the Southeast. The “Hunker Down for Climate Change” zine, as the final product is titled, will be available at Hearthside Books in Juneau, Jackson said.
“For the first run, we’re only printing 50, but it’s available online for order,” Jackson said.
Some of the art itself was given to the office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as well, Jackson said, as a vector for presenting their concerns in a non-typical format. Murkowski chairs the Senate Natural Resource Committee, making her voice a powerful one on climate change issues.
“I think art is very powerful,” Jackson said. “It can communicate things that something like a letter to the editor can’t.”
The diversity of the voices involved are one of the things that give the zine its strength, Jackson said.
“SEACC funded the entire project in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, which we are the Alaska affiliate of,” Jackson said in an email. “The major costs were compensating the lead artists who facilitated the workshops and then designing and publishing the zine.”