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How Do You Change the Course of the Climate?

The climate is a big component of the earth as a living organism. It encompasses the statistical variations of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods. It has taken a long time, in terms of human life cycle years, for man to change the climate. How do we steer it back on track toward acceptable levels? Nothing in my life as one to inherit the earth from the older generations has led me to believe that it is done in a matter of days, or even years. Most change that has affected my people has taken generations. Real change does happen in one generation, but the change that we have looked for and require takes generations.

It took us generations to be accepted as real people and citizens of the United States. It took us generations to gain a legal claim and title to our ancestral land. It has taken generations for us to gain the capacity to develop our Native corporations to give us shareholder benefit that goes beyond fiscal dividends. It will take generations to enhance the habitat to get the climate to get back on its natural course. How do we do that? Science has identified excessive carbon emissions, like the smog I seen down in California, as contributing to man’s impact to the climate. Other industrial gases have been shown to have a negative impact on the environment as well. If we lower the presence of these gases, we offset the excessive human contribution to these natural elements. The removal of carbon in the atmosphere can be quantified into positive impacts to our atmosphere, which impacts our climate. One seemingly simple, almost intrinsic, method is to allow plants to do their natural process of photosynthesis, the process of plants converting carbon into their food. For Alaska Carbon Exchange (ACE), we found that an internationally developed method to protect land for the purpose of terrestrial sequestration is part of the overall solution. Terrestrial sequestration involves the capture and storage of carbon dioxide by plants and the storage of carbon in soil.

ACE, with work done by Alaska Village Initiative (AVI), developed a land use agreement (LUA) to bring Alaskan Native Corporate (ANC) lands under contract for the purpose of creating carbon sinks on Native lands. In 2010, the AVI Board of Directors gave AVI management the task of developing the ACE Land Usage Agreement with language to: 1. protect the carbon sequestration ability of our ancestral lands to make a real difference in these climate changes 2. Protect and promote traditional practices that don’t harm that value. What we have now is a dynamic agreement between Alaskan Native land owners and ACE to bring real efforts to impact Global Climate Change and the Alaskan Native Community as a whole.