If at first you don’t succeed…

…seek a larger audience.

The skiing senator

Back in December, I wrote to my senator, Lisa Murkowski, and asked her to vote against the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. My case was fairly straightforward. Climate change is affecting the Arctic faster than any other part of the world and Alaska communities are already being forced to adapt to this new world. We need a EPA head who—at the bare minimum—acknowledges the truth of climate change.

I never heard back.

On Saturday, Alaska Dispatch News, Alaska’s largest news organization, published an opinion piece by me that makes the same case at greater length and to a much larger audience. You can read the article here:

It is possible to disagree with the actions of the EPA and how the Obama administration has sought to combat climate change. Indeed, Murkowski has at times voiced such disagreement. But it is not possible in 2017 to deny the reality of a changing climate and the role of human agents in this process. To put a man like Scott Pruitt in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency would constitute a major blow to Alaska communities looking to their elected representatives for help as they work to adapt to the new reality we face.

Scott Pruitt’s nomination will likely come before the full Senate in the next few weeks. Murkowski should vote against his confirmation and insist that Donald Trump appoint an EPA director who takes the threat of climate change seriously. It is the only reasonable move….

Sen. Murkowski is not short of reasonableness. In an unreasonable age, she must now find her courage.

There’s been a lot of talk since November’s election about how people who dissent from the Trump agenda can best make their voice heard. Write to your elected representatives and call them. But the weakness of local and regional news organizations makes them desperate for content and eager for prose they can publish. Don’t underestimate the significance of submitting unsolicited columns to your local paper. If no one else, you can be sure that your members of Congress will read it when their name appears.

But that strategy only works if other people make their voices heard as well. So if you live in Alaska and agree what I wrote in the ADN, write to Lisa Murkowski yourself and tell her she needs to vote against Scott Pruitt. Then call one of her offices and do the same.

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KNOM Memories

It’s August, travel time for lots of people, including me. Even my blogging has been traveling. I was asked to contribute a guest post to the Alaska Radio Mission blog.

When I worked at KNOM and people asked me what I did, I’d often say, “I tell stories.”

The great virtue of being a news reporter is that you can call people up and ask them what’s going on. That’s what I loved doing in the two years I worked in the KNOM newsroom. I interviewed governors, lawmakers, senators, candidates for office, and, on one memorable occasion, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In one way or another, they were telling stories—and KNOM was molding, shaping, and challenging how those stories were presented to our listeners.

Haven’t heard of KNOM? Check it out. It’s the best little radio station anywhere on this continent and might just be the place you want to spend a few years.