by Adeline Peter Raboff
I cannot sit by and watch and listen to the massive propaganda campaign about Ballot Measure 1 without comment.
It’s Big government and Big corporations at their most hell-bent destructive ways.
Big Corporations known by Big government as “entities” and as “people” by some well-known persons, are not and obviously cannot be held accountable for things like, environmental destruction of water, waterways, air quality, plant life, animal life or human life. Oh yes, there are the rare widely publicized cases where there is an enormous settlement, which by the way, gets relitigated and re-negotiated to the point where hardly anything of the original settlement gets settled. Sadly, maybe that sounds familiar.
We in Alaska are blessed. We live in a state where, if necessary, we can drink the water in our rivers. Fish and fish stocks are not contaminated with mercury and heavy metals. Moose, caribou, deer, muskoxen, bison, and buffalo are healthy as are other small game. Hunters and fishermen have beautiful, clean, and remote locations in which to hunt and fish. Alaska is a hunter/gatherer paradise. Just ask the thousands of relatives who come up every year to join in the fishing and hunting.
To Big corporations and Big government everything is a ‘resource’ or a ‘renewable resource’ that is harvested, extracted, sold, re-sold, refined, repurposed, discarded, recycled, and then buried.
There is never any thought of a Creator who spent eons creating, re-creating, and refining his creation to the exact nook and cranny of every environmental region on the planet. Everything from quarks, atoms, and micro-organisms to insects, elephants and whales. All have their place in this sphere.
Then there is the cost of Ballot Measure 1. Big Corporations are the first to pounce on exactly how much it’s going to cost the people of Alaska. Let’s see; no one pays income tax. Will it cost the homeowners? Will it cost property owners? Will it cost bed tax payers? Will it cost boat and mobile home owners? Will it cost the fishermen in salmon failures? Will it cost the hunters in lost habitat? Will it cost the tourist economy? Will it cost the cities and the boroughs in lost revenues? How about lease holders and international mega-mining firms, and mega-oil companies? Exactly who is going to pay for what?
At its root Ballot Measure 1 is about the protection of Salmon Habitat.
For most of mainstream America salmon habitat sounds like something that could be re-created in a hatchery, or made like an ant farm by the kid next door. The connection between food sources and environment is pretty vague in the asphalt jungles and the dirt-poor regions of this country. No one would think of drinking the water from the Hudson, Potomac, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Colorado, or Monongahela rivers let alone swim in those rivers. A hurricane has emphasized, yet again, the runaway pollution of industrial farming practices. Loss of clean livable habitat? That is what it looks like. The world over, the first thing displaced, stranded people need is clean drinking water. And that is when we all pay.
The environmental playbook is broken. It’s plain to see from the net results in the lower 48, that the environmental playbook of the last century is not working.
The favorite mantra of BIG Corporations and BIG government is jobs, jobs, jobs. For how long? And at what price to our children and grandchildren?
Big Corporation environmental playbook has to die, it has to die in Alaska.
We need a community of people who love this state, who are not ashamed to love our clean sustainable environment. We need a community of people who aren’t cowed and coerced into short sighted visions of where our beautiful state can and should be in a hundred years.
Ah, the Native Corporations and Ballot Measure 1.
They are doing exactly what the Congress of the United States of America wanted them to do. They rightly emphasized the need to educate their children to learn how to run these corporations. Up until now there has been only minor scratching and stretching of the main core value fabric of Alaska Native identity and culture. This issue is the real test. Let’s see if the sleek highly educated businessmen and lawyers of the new generation can break this indelible link of the previous generations with the great sea and the land. The native corporations have the slickest ads, they know their stuff. Or maybe not.
If you do nothing else this year vote YES on Ballot Measure 1
Adeline Peter Raboff is a writer and genealogist who lives and works in Fairbanks, Alaska.