The Tongass: A Way Forward For The Forest
In our season three finale, we’re transporting listeners to the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world and a vital carbon sink: the Tongass.
Katharine and Leah investigate the impact of decades of industrial logging in Southeast Alaska and political debates pitting ecology against economy. We learn from the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people, who have lived on and with these lands for more than 10,000 years. And we discover how a new chapter for the Tongass is taking root.
This episode features Marina Anderson, deputy director of the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, and President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson of the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Marina and Richard describe the boom-and-bust extractive economy of the past, and they share new collaborative approaches that are now moving Southeast Alaska towards a regenerative economy — in which the forest and local communities can thrive.
Along the way, we learn about key moments in the history of the Tongass: its designation as a National Forest in 1907, major pulp mill contracts in the 1950s, the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the 1990 Tongass Timber Reform Act, the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, and now, the modern-day Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy. It’s a powerful tale that ultimately points to so much possibility.
As this season comes to a close, we’re curious: Have the stories on our show inspired you to take climate action or set new climate goals? We’d love to know! Please take a moment to fill out our first-ever listener survey.
Thank you to all our guests, listeners, supporters, production team, and amazing guest hosts, Nikayla Jefferson and Paasha Mahdavi, for a great season! While we’re away, you can discover more meaningful ways to take part in the climate story via The All We Can Save Project.