Who we are

The Alaska Climate Action Network (AK CAN!) is connecting Alaskans from all walks of life and all corners of the state who share a deep concern about climate change, biodiversity and our energy future and desire to co-create a just and sustainable future through collective, creative grassroots action.

Our current priority is to educate, inspire and empower Alaskans to take individual and community action on the climate/ecological crisis. Check out our Climate Action Pledge, Calendar and Events and Climate Action Planning pages!

AKCAN! is a project of the.... 

Alaska Institute for Climate & Energy (ALICE), our behind the scenes "Mother Ship", fiscal sponsor and guiding light.

ALICE fosters bold new innovative climate mitigation and adaptation strategies best suited to Alaska through collaborative research, pilot project development and grassroots advocacy.

The rapid environmental, public health, safety and economic changes hitting us now are the result of the interrelated global climate and ecological crisis.  Responding effectively to these challenges here at home requires creativity, stealth, flexibility and collaboration.  Consequently, our work is constantly evolving. 

We draw inspiration from Project Drawdown, Natural Solutions, Bio4Climate, Bay Area Smart Energy and other innovative approaches.  Our end goal is to identify and advocate for real-world, "shovel-ready" pilot projects to address Alaska's most pressing climate, biodiversity and energy issues. 

In addition to AKCAN!, other ALICE projects and activities include:

Board of Directors

Ceal Smith, Director.  Ceal is an ecologist, researcher, systems thinker, policy analyst, educator and movement builder.  She worked as a field research ecologist and environmental compliance consultant in the Southwest, Mexico and Central America before becoming a full-time climate activist in 2006.  Ceal has worked extensively with grassroots citizen groups, including the Renewable Communities Alliance, Solar Done Right and the Grassroots Energy Activist Alliance.  She has an MSci in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, an MEd from the University of Arizona, Tucson and a BA in Ecodevelopment and Environmental Policy from UC Santa Cruz where she studied under the late Dr. Raymond Dasmann. She lives in Eagle River with her husband Kerry Williams.  

Bjorn Olsen, Director.   Bjorn 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 where his family squatted. In his late teens Bjørn was inspired by the legendary Alaskan outdoorsmen and women, whose 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.  

Scott Gruhn, Treasurer.  

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

Full bio coming soon!  

McKibben Jackinsky, Director.  McKibben is a life-long Alaskan and award-winning journalist. Her Russian and Alutiiq ancestors were among the first settlers in the village of Ninilchik and she grew up commercial fishing on Cook Inlet. McKibben earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Resource Education from Alaska Pacific University and worked in Alaska’s oil industry for a decade before beginning a 15-year career as a writer. After retiring, McKibben wrote "Too Close to Home? Living with “drill, baby” on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. 350.org founder Bill McKibben (no relation) wrote, “This engrossing account of what it means to ordinary Alaskans when the oil industry shows up on their doorsteps is a good reminder that the damage from fossil fuels can hit hard locally on its way to the atmosphere and the climate.” McKibben continues to write as a freelancer and advocate for individuals negatively impacted by the aggressive spread of the fossil fuel industry on the Kenai Peninsula. She and her husband Sandy Mazen divide their time between Ninilchik, Homer, and a winter-getaway on the Oregon Coast.  

Rebecca Siegel, Secretary. 

Rebecca is the newest member of our board of directors.   She teaches science at Brevig Mission High School on the Seward Peninsula in Alaska.  Rebecca is an intrepid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast.

Full bio coming soon!  

Advisory Council  

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.

Susie Paallengetaq Silook is a carver, sculptor and writer, of Siberian Yupik Inupiaq and Irish descent.

She was born in Gambell, Alaska and is currently residing in Anchorage.

Full bio coming soon!
Rick Steiner is a conservation biologist and former marine conservation professor with the University of Alaska with extensive experience working in the Arctic, Prince William Sound and worldwide. As Director of Oasis Earth, he consults worldwide on a wide range of oil and gas and environmental issues.  

Sandy Harper is recently retired Artistic Director for Cyrano’s Theatre Company. She's long been a champion for climate change.

Full bio coming soon!

Kerry Williams is a retired construction engineer and life-time Alaskan. He was formerly Chief Engineer on 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 pumped hydro energy storage systems to take Alaska's railbelt to 100% renewable energy.

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.  He and his wife Ceal Smith are building the super-insulated, ultra-efficient zero-emissions home he designed in Eagle River.

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