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Alaska Common Ground
Spring 2021 Newsletter

Upcoming Events

 
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What gives us hope...


It seems everywhere we turn these days, we are reminded of just how fragile our democracy, health, safety and economic stability are. But what gives us hope is all of you who continue to stand up for our democratic values, a more just and equitable society, the health and safety of others as well as for finding solutions to address our climate crisis and our state’s uncertain fiscal future. And for all of this, we are grateful.

Urgent Action Needed on Fiscal Plan


Alaska Common Ground’s Board of Directors again wrote the State Legislature in early March urging legislators to address the state fiscal situation during the current legislative session. Our letter calls for the Legislature to protect the Permanent Fund; provide for constitutionally protected public services including education, public health, and public safety; and adopt a graduated income tax. We also mailed them a copy of Cliff Groh's "Alaska's Fiscal Crisis: A Graphic Guide", which includes cartoons by Peter Dunlap-Shohl. 

We have invited several legislators to speak on the status of the Legislature's work on the state's fiscal crisis at our upcoming Annual Meeting. We encourage our members to write their legislators to request they solve the state's fiscal crisis this year. The Governor's own budget forecast predicts that by 2022, the Legislature will need over $1 billion in new revenue. The Legislature needs to act this year to fill this hole. In addition, the 2022 legislative session is an election year, when legislators are less likely to take the brave but necessary actions needed to solve the state's fiscal crisis.  

Addressing Our Climate Crisis 

 
In January and February, Alaska Common Ground hosted the first two events in our four-part Climate Action Series exploring the different sectors in the Municipality of Anchorage’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). Thank you to the more than 200 participants who attended these informative events. ACG believes it is essential to understand what policies and programs are currently being implemented in, or planned for, Anchorage as well as what opportunities exist for each of us to be a part of local solutions to this complex global crisis.
 

Our first event focused on Buildings & Energy and highlighted what actions Anchorage homeowners and businesses can take to conserve and reduce energy use, ways the Municipality is reducing energy use in its buildings and infrastructure, and efforts underway to establish a Green Bank in Alaska. Many thanks go to our speakers Shaina Kilcoyne (Municipality of Anchorage), Mike Spencer (Alaska Housing Finance Corporation), Chris Rose (REAP), and Stephen Trimble (Arctic Solar Ventures). Video of this event and resources on these topics can be found here.
 

Our second event featured a discussion of Land Use & Transportation. The Municipality shared how they are reducing greenhouse gas emissions from municipal vehicles and how public transit and land use planning can move Anchorage toward further reductions. We also learned about advancements regarding electric vehicles and charging stations. Thanks to our presenters representing the Municipality—Pierce Schwalb, Bart Rudolph, Michelle McNulty, and Joni Wilm—and to Sean Skaling from Chugach Electric. Video of this event and resources on these topics can be found here.
 
Please mark your calendars to join us for our last two events—Food Systems on March 25th and Consumption & Solid Waste on April 29th. You can find all of the details below
 
We wish to thank our generous sponsors for their financial support for our series: Alaska Conservation Foundation, The Alaska Center, Cook Inletkeeper, Solid Waste Services, and Renewable IPP. We’re also grateful for the support of great partners and volunteers including: Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP), Anchorage Public Library, UAA/APU Books of the Year, the League of Women Voters of Anchorage and ACG members—Cami Dalton, Gretchen Nelson, Betsy Baker, and Shara Sutherlin.

Member Highlight on Betsy Baker

Betsy Baker has been a member of Alaska Common Ground since 2016. An international lawyer, she recently retired as director of the North Pacific Research Board and keeps busy as a part-time consultant and fellow at the Wilson Center Polar Institute. Her current focus is on ocean law and Arctic policy and their intersection with marine science. In her free time, Betsy serves not only as the coordinator for Braver Angels in Alaska and a board member for Facing Foster Care in Alaska, but on ACG's working group charged with planning our climate change event series. We are grateful for the expertise Betsy contributes to our discussions on this incredibly complex topic.

Betsy shares why she believes the work of ACG is important:

Alaska Common Ground is active on so many fronts to inform Alaskans on issues that matter: from climate to fiscal matters to healthcare and more. Their many talented and experienced volunteers and guest speakers span public and private sectors to provide practical ways we, as Alaskans, can improve our common life. ACG's non-partisan foundation also complements my other volunteer role: working with Red and Blue Alaskans to establish a local chapter of Braver Angels. We work to depolarize America through programs that help us to truly listen and work across the aisle, moving beyond stereotypes to restore our bonds as Americans.

It is an honor to call Betsy an ACG member. If you too value our mission, join us today! And be sure to check out the important efforts of Braver Angels at www.braverangels.org.

Alaska Common Ground's Annual Meeting
Monday, April 5, 6:30 to 8 pm


Please join us for our Annual Meeting at which we’ll share updates about our efforts from the past year and take a look ahead including to our 30th Anniversary. We’ll also feature a timely presentation from two state legislators on Alaska’s fiscal crisis, a topic we have been raising awareness about since the organization was founded 30 years ago. All are welcome, whether or not you are an ACG member.
 
To join us, please register here or click the button below.
Register for Annual Meeting

Other Upcoming ACG & Partner Events

Alaska Common Ground's Climate Action Series

What can we do to reduce emissions, save money and the planet? Join us for continuing discussions of Anchorage’s Climate Action Plan and how we can take action:
 


Food Systems
Thursday, March 25, 7 – 8:30 pm

ACG, in partnership with UAA/APU Books of the Year, is continuing our series with a discussion about our local food system. Join us for a dynamic, rapid-fire panel featuring 15 local organizations discussing how their work supports the Muni’s goal: to support local, sustainable food systems and how you can get involved. You won’t want to miss it!
 
Moderated by Micah Hahn, UAA and UAA/APU Books of the Year. Our panelists include: Edible Alaska, Arctic Harvest Deliveries, Alaska Food Hub, Yarducopia, Anchor Gardens, Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association, Space Farming Institute, Anchorage Urban Sustainability Farm (Heritage Land Bank), Alaska Native Tribal Health Corporation, Becoming an Outdoors Woman Program Alaska, The Alaska Hunting Collective, Intertribal Agriculture Council, UAF Cooperative Extension Service Health Home & Family Development Program, AgAlaska, Alaska Village Initiatives and Alaska Food Policy Council.
Register for Food Systems


Consumption & Solid Waste
Thursday, April 29, 7 – 8:30 pm

We'll finish our series with a discussion of how we can reduce waste through recycling, composting, and more. 
Register for Consumption and Solid Waste
Information, including video, is available from the first two events below. Additional resources can be found on our website and Facebook page.
 

Healing the Divide
What are our Values?
Tuesday, April 13, 7 to 8:30 pm

Do you want to practice civic conversations addressing the key elements of our democracy? Join Alaska Common Ground and Alaska Humanities Forum for a conversation about finding common ground in the values you, your family, and our nation care about. Discuss the values written into the Preambles of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution to evaluate how we're doing as a nation and how we can do more. It starts here!

This non-partisan conversation was funded by the “Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Register for Healing the Divide

REAP's 2021 Spring Speaker Series

Every other Wednesday at 12:00 pm in March and April, Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) is hosting events discussing relevant energy related issues from local, regional and national experts. All events are free and held via Zoom. Click here for more information.
  • March 10: Railbelt Reliability Council: An Effort to Create Alaska’s first electric reliability organization - Watch video here
  • March 24 - TODAY: Alaska’s Green Bank: An update on the latest efforts to create a green bank in Alaska - Register here
  • April 7: Federal Energy Legislation: An in-depth look at the 2020 Energy Bill - Register here
  • April 21: Where the Jobs Are: Clean Energy Jobs in Alaska - Register here

Anchorage Votes by Mail

  • The Municipal election is April 6, 2021.
  • Ballot packages were mailed out starting March 15.
  • Information including location of secure drop boxes can be found here

Please Remember to Pick.Click.Give.


ACG recognizes there are many pressing issues confronting our community right now needing our support. We encourage you to support these causes when you apply for your PFD at the end of this month and you Pick.Click.Give. When you do so, please also consider adding a donation to Alaska Common Ground. It’s easy and a great way to support our mission. If you have already submitted your application, you can still add or change a pledge at this link. Thank you!

Support ACG: Become a Member Today!

 
Another impactful way to support ACG is to become a member. Thank you to all of our new members and to our dedicated members who renew their support year after year. You make our efforts possible!
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