About Us

The Alaska Climate Action Network (AK CAN!) is an emerging grassroots network of community-based groups, Indigenous leaders, scientists, renewable energy experts, artists and concerned Alaskans who agree it’s time for serious action on climate change.

Our goal is to aggregate and amplify our collective voices to push for statewide science and Indigenous knowledge-based, best-practice policy solutions to climate change, move Alaska to a renewable energy-based economy and push back on the draconian policies of decision-makers who deny climate change.

AK CAN! is connecting Alaskans from all walks of life and all corners of the state who share a deep concern about climate change and our energy future. Together we can create a just and sustainable future for Alaskans through collective, creative grassroots action.

Based on input from our partners and active associates, our current (2017-18) priorities are:

CONTACT AK CAN! at: info@akclimateaction.org

1) 100% Renewable Roadmap for Alaska

Alaska has diverse and abundant renewable energy resources including microhydro, wave, tidal, solar, wind, geothermal and a variety of ground, air and ocean heat sources.   We are working to develop a roadmap that integrates and builds on regional energy goals and plans into a statewide nuts and bolts plan, roughly modeled after Bill Powers Smart Energy Plans.  When implemented, 100% Alaska RE Roadmap will help revitalize our economy and create a just transition to a new energy future for Alaska.  Read more about concept behind the Smart Energy Roadmap for Alaska here.

2) End oil subsidies/Fair Share oil tax/ Wise use

The oil and gas industry currently gives less in royalties and production taxes and takes more in subsidies, write-offs and direct payments than at any time in Alaska’s history.  This imbalance needs to end.  AK CAN! advocates for a Fair Share oil production tax, policies that incentivize carbon emission reductions and the wise use of our remaining known oil and gas reserves to ensure a systematic and smooth transition away from dependency on fossil fuels.

3) Climate Change Mitigation & Planning

Alaska is warming twice as fast as lower latitudes and undergoing many changes as a result.  These changes will not only affect our children and grandchildren.  They are impacting community health, safety and economies across the state in a multitude of ways now.  Adapting to impacts from climate change is a serious challenge that requires increasing food security throughout Alaska, strengthening emergency preparedness capacity for urban and rural communities, supporting coastal village relocation efforts and ongoing climate change monitoring programs.

AK CAN! members are also working to further municipal and regional Climate Action Plans to fill the gap left by the Trump Administration reneging on the Paris Accord.  We continue to urge Governor Walker to join the US Climate Alliance, a growing coalition of governors committed to meeting the Paris Accord goals (sign our petition here).

4) Protect climate change research in Alaska

As the cooling system of the northern hemisphere, the Arctic has a disproportionate effect on the earth’s air and ocean circulation systems.  The need to understand the complexities of our rapidly changing climate is greater now than ever before. Yet key climate science research programs are under assault at the highest levels of government.   Deep cuts have been proposed to EPA, NOAA, NASA and other university and community research programs such as the critical Sea Grant.   We are working to foster a network of support for scientists and climate science in Alaska.

5) Monitor Oil & Gas Development

The legacy of the Exxon-Valdez oil spill left a mark on Alaska that may never heal.  Communities continue to pay the price of fossil fuel development in the form of air and water pollution, adverse health impacts, disruption of subsistence resources and other impacts.  We are working with affected communities and partner organizations to monitor impacts of oil and gas development  – including high-volume, slick-water hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and begin the uphill battle of keeping all but Alaskan's already known, lowest carbon conventional fossil fuel reserves in the ground. 


Some of AK CAN!'s partner groups...

Alaskan's Known Climate Change; bringing Alaskans together to fight climate change, defend our way of life, and embolden the industries of the future.

Permanent Fund Divestment Campaign Partners and affiliates:
Cook Inletkeeper
Citizen's Climate Lobby, Anchorage
Alaska Community Action on Toxics 
Rick Steiner
Kate Troll
Curt Karns, ExDir, Presbytery of Yukon

Our Founders & Guiding Lights:

Ceal Smith is an MSci. Ecologist, sustainability and environmental compliance expert, researcher, writer, climate change & energy policy analyst and community organizer and activist 
She founded the Renewable Communities Alliance in 2006 to promote clean energy alternatives that empower people and communities while protecting valuable cultural and natural resources.  RCA has worked extensively with grassroots citizen groups and NGO's in Colorado, California, Arizona, Alaska, the US and beyond.

She is a leader in the emerging Energy Democracy movement in the US, a co-founder of the renewable energy think-tank, Solar Done Right, a Credo Climate Hero recipient in 2015 and co-founder of Chukchi Sea Watch. She served on the March for Science Anchorage organizing team and is Founder and current Chair of the Alaska Climate Caucus.  She lives in Eagle River.  
Ceal has an MSci in Ecology & Conservation Biology from the University of Arizona and a BA in Environmental Policy and Ecodevelopment from University of California, Santa Cruz where she studied under the late Dr. Raymond Dasmann.

Email: ceal@akclimateaction.org

Bjorn Olsen is a life-long Alaskan adventurer, photographer and story-teller with a focus on conservation issues and adventure films in the 49th state.  Among his many pursuits, Bjorn is founder of Alaskan's Know Climate Change and active with Kachimak Bay Conservation Society and Ground Truth Trekking.   

Since birth, South Central Alaska has been Bjørn's home, where he began life in an abandoned trappers cabin in the Wrangell Mountains his family squatted. In his late teens Bjørn was inspired by the legendary Alaskan outdoorsmen and women, who’s adventures were what most defined and consumed them. Since then he has been following his own life of adventure, from mountaineering and climbing to kayaking, pack-rafting and cycling.

Eric Schaetzle is a climate change and sustainability activist, renewable energy enthusiast and member of the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition. Bio coming soon!

Scott Gruhn is a structural engineer from Anchorage, active member of the Presbyterian Church and accomplished climate science communicator.  Bio coming soon! 

Kerry Williams is a retired construction engineer with a penchant for renewables and transportation.  He was Chief Engineer for Team Mana La, running in the first solar car race across Australia in the 80's.  In the 90's he sold rooftop solar PV systems.  He's currently working on a pumped hydro storage system to take Alaska's railbelt to 100% renewable energy  

He and Ceal are building the super-insulated, ultra-efficient net-zero energy home he designed in Eagle River. Kerry has lived in Alaska since he was 5 and has had many rich and varied experiences across the state. Some highlights include working in a Kodiak Bear hunting camp and the Alaska Marine Highway as a teen, and helping build the Trans Alaska Pipeline after finishing a BA in Communications from Boston University.  

Email: kerry@akclimateaction.org

Libby Roderick is an internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter, poet, activist,
teacher and lifelong Alaskan. The surprising power and depth of her music and the humor and spontaneity of her performances have attracted large and enthusiastic audiences across the continent and fans all over the world.

Her six recordings have received extensive airplay on Earth and, in 2003, NASA played her song “Dig Down Deep” on the planet Mars as encouragement to the robot “Spirit.” Libby is well-known as an exhilarating and witty artist who offers a remarkable blend of passionate music, wry humor and incisive commentary on social and personal issues.  We are pleased to welcome Libby as the newest member of the AK CAN! team. 

CONTACT AK CAN! at: info@akclimateaction.org 

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