Monday, October 15

My environment

"The Kuskokwim's break-up"
Aniak, Alaska
May 2007

Since today is October 15th and a few days ago I signed up for Blog Action Day, I'll take this chance to talk about why I happened to land in this corner of the world. It has to do with environmental issues.

David, the man I share a journey an a small and beautiful family with, accepted a job in January that implied leaving everything behind and moving to a small town in the Alaska Bush for a period of at least three years. The decision was not an easy one, but we took it and here we are.

Now, David works as the Director of the Kuskokwim River Watershed Council, trying to build the organization from the ground. It is a bit surreal that a guy from Andorra de Teruel, in Spain, has come to Alaska to create an environmental organization that represents the interests of the 29 Yup'ik and Athabascan tribes that live along the longest free flowing river in the US. It is not an easy job, believe me.

The project is still in its initial phases, creating a board of directors with representatives from the different towns and tribes. The idea is to eventually start developing projects that will help in the conservation of the river. The work will focus on environmental issues, though the social and cultural areas are also tremendously important aspects of it. Projects such as river water quality monitoring and recycling programs are starting out. An interesting project that is developing is a summer camp in which elders and children will share a few days together and explore a variety of cultural traditions. Those traditions that with the impact of western civilization and especially television, are slowly dying out. If you are interested, you can visit the Kuskokwim River Watershed Council's website.

Meanwhile, at home, we try to live a life as sustainable as possible. This implies reducing as much as possible the use of fossil resources, trying to recycle as much as possible in a town with no recycling programs yet, and obtaining a big portion of our protein through hunting and fishing in the area. Hopefully, next summer we will have a garden big enough to produce vegetables that will last part of the winter.

What seems impossible to avoid here is the use of one of our biggest contaminants and resource suckers nowadays: airplanes. I recently learned that 1 out of 69 people in Alaska is a pilot. And it is not surprising. Most part of Alaska is like the area of the tundra we live in, with no communication by road other than to get to the dump, which is about 2 miles outside of town. We live far away from Alaska's small road system. At least here we have the river in the winter, and for a few months out of each year, it freezes over and turns into a giant Ice Road, connecting all the villages in the area and allowing people to ride in snow machines or trucks from one place to another.

I'm still scared of going on the frozen river, but I hear that there are trucks that drive on the ice when the ice is at its thickest, so it must be pretty safe. You'll hear all about it! :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Meiga! this is another gallega around de world. Lo que tenemos en comun es una amiga Ana; hasta hoy no pinche en tu foto a pesar de que siempre me intrigo quien era esa meiga de alaska. Yo vivo en Brighton, al sur de londres y aterrice aqui de casualidad o quizas todo estaba planeado de alguna manera. Me ha encantado leer tu blogg. Bicos elisa