AK CASC Tribal Climate Workshop continues with community visits

Ryan Toohey

AK CASC’s Ryan Toohey, Jeremy Littell, and Malinda Chase will travel to several coastal communities participating in the Looking Forward, Looking Back: Building Resilience Today workshop next week. The workshop began in Fairbanks last April with a meeting of fourteen representatives from five tribes, led by AK CASC and the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association. It aims to provide Alaska tribal communities who are at the forefront of climate change with the tools to plan and adapt for uncertain futures.

Following the initial meeting in Fairbanks, the organizers have collaborated with participants to plan on-site workshops tailored to each community’s needs. It will aim to address gaps in the adaptation planning process and document traditional knowledge. Starting in Kwigollongok and Quinhagak, these community outreach events will include participation by tribal, city, and corporation leadership.

“We know that communities are responding to the immediate impacts of climate change already, with some addressing immediate erosion or frequent flooding, and relocation efforts. But many communities are starting to experience multiple impacts, with some coming at once. In this project we are working with community teams on a specific area of adaptation – to look at changes to local lands, waters, and fish and wildlife and consider current and future climate projections along with traditional knowledge that can guide adaptation strategies,” says Chase. As Tribal Liaison to the AK CASC through a partnership with Aleutians Pribilof Island Association, Chase serves as the link between Alaska’s tribes and the climate research community.

“I landed in Anchorage today and there’s smoke. Yesterday, I took a walk in the Rosie Creek area in Fairbanks, and I’m walking in floodwaters over the local road. The impacts are starting to be multiple, and the tribes are experiencing that. We’re working with them to assist them in gaining a deeper awareness of the tools, information, and support available to them as they take action to respond to these increasing impacts, as part of their greater adaptation efforts,” says Chase.

The workshop series will culminate with another all-participant training in Fairbanks later this year. For more information, contact Malinda Chase.