Sunshine Mania: Alaska News Brief June 2024
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Sunshine Mania: Alaska News Brief June 2024

By Vicki Clark

As I get older, summer mania hits me more intensely. There are plants to tend, nooks to clean, birds to watch, people to connect with, and of course places to go. The nearby dog park is packed these days, and though Jasper thrives whether there’s snow or sunshine, I linger at the park longer in the summertime.

The season has a singular aura in Alaska, I suppose. We don’t feel oppressive or dangerous heat. We can count on having plenty of water around us. We don’t need to go inside on the hottest days.

Flowers from Vicki’s garden, photo by Dawnell Smith

To us, summer means we can start a hike or start fishing at any hour and not need a flashlight. Kids play till midnight. You can forget that people might be sleeping when you’re doing yardwork at 1 am.

Maybe the non-stop Alaska sunshine also triggers in me a bone-deep realization that the cycle of life works the same way. There are the manic periods where you think you can do anything, or at least you think you can or you’re compelled to try, and then there are the other periods where energy is low and you curl up in bed a little longer, because when the Earth’s tilts, and the sun’s radiance ebbs, that summer mania ends.

Maybe that’s why poets use the seasons to talk about life and, more prosaically, why people create bucket lists. Sometimes you need a reminder during those more reflective down times that there are things you want to do before you can’t.

I ticked off one of those things when I swam with sperm whales in March, but of course I’m already thinking about the next trip.

We have different kinds of lists to consider at the office. We have lists of our litigation; lists of legislation, issues, and actions we’re watching; lists of decisions and actions we’re waiting to see so we can respond.

We intervened in another lawsuit around the proposed Pebble mine last month, despite a federal agency’s prohibition on large-scale mining in Bristol Bay. Pebble’s corporate leaders keep trying to put an open pit mine in Bristol Bay’s thriving watershed, no matter the mighty opposition in Bristol Bay and Alaska, and we keep standing with our clients and partners in stopping them.

Any day now we’re expecting the federal government to issue a record of decision on the proposed Ambler road; a supplemental environmental impact statement for the leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; a final decision on protections for D1 lands in Alaska.

We’re waiting for a court decision on the Willow project lawsuit. We’re waiting to see what happens with hunting regulations in national parks in Alaska.

There’s a lot of waiting, planning, thinking, and preparing that goes into protecting the places we care about for human and more-than-human beings now and for generations to come.

Alas, the sun waits for no one, and the longest day of sunlight is near, so you will soon find us outside past midnight, soaking in that radiance, whatever the weather, and sharing solstice mania with Alaskans everywhere.


PS. Thanks to supporters like you, we can continue fighting to protect Alaska’s land, water, air, wildlife and people.


View of Cook Inlet, photo by Paxson Woelber

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Sockeye Salmon, Photo by Amy Gulick

Pulling the Pebble mine out of Alaska’s XTRATUFs

Geoff riding the ferry to Alaska

Geoff’s Farewell means “see you around”

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