New work: Arctic Youth Ambassadors feature
I love interviewing people. Having free rein to ask complete strangers about their lives, the things that have impacted them and inspired them, their influences, the way they see the world ... well, it just doesn't feel like work. Earlier this year, I was contracted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska to interview a dozen or so active and former Arctic Youth Ambassadors from Alaska to learn about how the program has impacted their educations and career goals, what made them apply for the program in the first place and how they view the future of Alaska. It was so inspiring! Students from rural villages and Alaska cities alike described feeling this intense urgency around climate policy. Some hail from villages that are literally washing into the ocean each winter as increasingly intense storms claim more and more coastline. Others describe a feeling of helplessness as it becomes more difficult to hunt the traditional foods their families and communities rely on as migration patterns and fish runs change. One even told me about parts of his indigenous language, Inupiaq, that are being lost because the words describe types of weather that no longer occur.
But despite this rather bleak set of circumstances, these young adults were educated, informed and empowered through the ambassadorship to make their voices heard. Uniformly, they described themselves as the generation that will be most impacted by the earth's changing climate, and as a result, the ones with the most skin in the game. You can read about the program and some of their stories here. I'll provide more links to some social-media content I developed in this project when it publishes soon.