A sign stands near the Auke Village Recreation Area, which is part of the Tongass National Forest. During the first few weeks of Joe Biden's presidency, he's issued several executive orders related to conservation. SEACC is hosting a webinar series to help people in Southeast Alaska learn more about how executive orders during the first 100 days of  Biden's presidency might affect The Tongass National Forest and other issues related to climate change. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Webinar series explores climate change in Southeast Alaska and national politics

SEACC to host monthly Climate Conversations through May.

A new monthly webinar series aims to highlight the intersection of climate change in Southeast Alaska and the shifting political landscape during President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office. The free series, sponsored by the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, is called Climate Conversations.

“Starting back with Biden’s win, we knew it was going to be a busy spring for climate change and Alaska,” said Matthew Jackson, climate organizer for SEACC and host of the events. “We wanted to create a format for Southeast Alaskans to stay informed. We’ve seen a lot of executive orders and wanted to have a monthly conversation with our followers and anyone interested.”

Jackson explained that each call will feature speakers who are experts and include suggestions for how people can take political action.

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“Education is important, but we also want our followers to take action. We can’t just take it for granted that people in Washington, D.C., will know what’s right for Alaska,” he said.

He said that if Alaskans aren’t heard by policy makers, “our king salmon will get smaller, our yellow cedar will die off, and our winters will be warmer and wetter, as we are projected to see more rain. The entire Alaska lifestyle depends on it being colder than the rest of the United States.”

Join the conversation

The next webinar, the second in a series scheduled to continue through May, will be held on Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m.

Paulette Moreno, president of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp, and Jessica Arriens, a policy expert from the National Wildlife Federation, are featured speakers.

The call will focus on Biden’s cabinet, specifically the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, who Biden has nominated to serve as the Secretary of the Interior. Her nomination is historic as she would be the first Indigenous person to serve in that role.

“She’s great because she’s a champion for justice and tribes. She can bring the passion we need,” Jackson said of Haaland’s nomination.

Speakers will also discuss Michael Regan’s nomination for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and Jennifer Granholm’s nomination for Energy Secretary. Granholm is the former governor of Michigan and Regan was the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

“I really hope people will join us,” Jackson said. We are going to write to Senator Murkowski to encourage her to support Haaland. It’s a great moment for Murkowski to show that she’s an advocate for climate,” he said.

Jackson said that the March webinar will focus on Biden’s infrastructure plans.

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How to join the webinar

When: Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 5:30 local time

How: Visit the events section of SEACC’s website and reserve your free spot in the webinar or sign up via Facebook.

Who: Jackson said the series is designed for locals, but anyone interested in the topic is welcome to attend.

•Contact Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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