Happy summer! The sights, sounds and smells of the season are fully upon us—wild roses and bluebird skies, crackling campfires and the shout of “Fish on!,” the whiff of the barbecue grill and the heady aroma of fresh-cut grass.
CIRI staff, executives and our Board of Directors were fortunate to kick off the summer at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders, held June 1 in Puyallup, Wash. We had a positive, productive meeting that included the election of five individuals to the CIRI Board of Directors and a vote to establish the CIRI Settlement Trust, which will provide significant tax savings to both shareholders and the corporation. You can read more about the CIRI Settlement Trust and the benefits it will provide in the lead article.
In Alaska, and especially for CIRI shareholders and other Alaska Native people, warmer weather means more time spent outdoors engaging in subsistence activities: fishing, hunting, growing and gathering are integral not only to our health, but to our Alaska Native culture and overall well-being. When I fish for salmon, pick berries or tend my garden, I am reminded of my ancestors, who relied on and worked in harmony with the earth to feed themselves and their families.
One of CIRI’s five corporate values is respect, which asks us to embrace the history and heritage of CIRI—its land, resources and people—and promote responsible stewardship of CIRI resources. It is a directive we take seriously, as it informs not only our actions as individuals, but CIRI’s business decisions as well.
As a company, CIRI is proud to have invested in reliable, efficient and clean sources of capacity and energy, such as the Fire Island Wind Project in Alaska and wind and natural gas projects in the Lower 48. The Fireweed Business Center, CIRI’s corporate headquarters in midtown Anchorage, is a LEED Gold-certified building that utilizes technologies such as solar panels, automated intelligent windows that transition to control light and heat, and daylight-sensing LED office lighting. CIRI subsidiary the North Wind Group is involved with numerous environmental remediation, environmental compliance and hazardous material response projects for federal, state and local governments. We do these things because we recognize that, just as our ancestors were good stewards of the land, we, too, must act as responsible stewards.
Climate change is a real, serious and growing threat. Alaska and the rest of the Arctic are warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. Alaska had its warmest December on record in 2018, with a statewide average temperature of 19 degrees—nearly 6 degrees above the 20th century average and 2 degrees warmer than the previous record set in 1985. According to the State of Alaska Division of Community and Regional Affairs, each new day brings new evidence of climate change in Alaska communities—thawing permafrost, thinning sea ice and increasing wildfires. These changes have resulted in a reduction of subsistence harvests, an increase in flooding and erosion, concerns about water and food safety, and major impacts to infrastructure.
While halting climate change requires planetary-scale reforms that can only be implemented by the world’s governments, we all can—and should—do our part, such as reducing, reusing and recycling wherever possible. Subsistence is another way we can help: eating local, seasonal products curbs the extra energy and preservation costs of long-distance transport and greenhouses. For additional tips on how you can reduce your carbon footprint, visit www.earthday.org/earth-day-tips.