Alaska Institute for Climate and Energy
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Advancing collaborative solutions to the interrelated social justice, climate and ecological crisis best suited for Alaska.
What we do:
The rapid environmental, public health, safety and economic changes that Alaska is currently experiencing are the result of interrelated global climate, ecological and social justice crisis. Responding effectively to these challenges requires bold vision, deep expertise, flexibility and a collaborative, holistic approach.
ALICE brings Alaska’s most innovative and visionary scientists, Indigenous leaders, land managers, energy and policy experts and business leaders together to research, develop and pilot shovel-ready projects that address Alaska’s most pressing climate, biodiversity and energy issues while building a resilient future that puts Alaska’s most affected communities first. We draw inspiration from Project Drawdown, Indigenous-informed Natural Solutions, Bio4Climate, Bay Area Smart Energy and other innovative approaches.
Ceal Smith, MSci, MEd
Ceal is an Ecologist, researcher, systems-thinker, policy analyst and climate activist. She worked as a field research ecologist and environmental policy expert in the Southwest, Mexico and Central America before devoting her full attention to the climate-biodiversity crisis in 2006. She is an innovator in Energy Democracy and science-based, grassroots collaborative solutions. She founded ALICE’s outreach arm, the Alaska Climate Action Network, shortly after moving to Alaska in 2013 and co- founded and chaired the Alaska Climate Caucus, the first in the nation, in 2015. Ceal has an MSci in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and MEd from the University of Arizona, Tucson and a BA in Ecodevelopment and Environmental Policy from UC Santa Cruz where she studied under the late Dr. Raymond Dasmann. She lives in Homer, AK with her husband Kerry Williams.
John Morton, PhD
Meda DeWitt is a Tlingit Traditional Healer, Ethno-herbalist, multi-disciplinary artist, community leader, educator, and advocate of Indigenous health practices, as well as environmental stewardship. Her Tlingit names are Tśa Tsée Naakw, Khaat kłaat. Her adopted Northern Cree name is Boss Eagle Spirit Woman. Her clan is Naanyaa.aayí from Wrangell, Alaska.
Meda completed her Bachelor’s of Arts in Women’s Rites of Passage and Master’s of Arts in Alaska Native Traditional Healing at the Alaska Pacific University.
Meda believes that at its core, Alaska Native culture is one of wellness, and that traditional holistic practices are integral to the reclamation of her peoples’ identity. Meda works globally as a cultural consultant and Indigenous facilitator, providing in-person and distance delivery trainings on traditional health-based practices through partnership with tribes, health corporations, educational instructions, and communities.
Jackie Qataliña Schaeffer
Jackie Qataliña Schaeffer is Iñupiaq from Kotzebue, Alaska. She studied Interior Design & Sustainable Building in London and the U.S. She is currently the Community Development Manager at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. She has worked in comprehensive planning, energy, housing and water/sanitation in rural communities across Alaska, utilizing a holistic approach to project development.
Her passion has led her to infuse traditional Inuit knowledge into strategic planning to change the “top down” approach into a locally-driven, grassroots approach. This innovative approach allows local leadership to be empowered to own and lead the discussions and decision making. Qataliña believes her ancestors’ traditional knowledge will help bridge gaps in our multi-cultural lifestyles and create balance in how we adapt to our rapidly changing climate. Her current work includes innovative sanitation solutions for unserved communities, tribal resilience adaptation planning, and community engagement for communities responding to climate impacts.
Qataliña also works with various indigenous groups to revitalize the return of traditional practices, including Iñupiaq language, traditional healing, medicinal plants and harvesting practices, storytelling, traditional skin sewing, and Iñupiaq dancing. Her commitment to serving the indigenous people of Alaska allows her to utilize a variety of skills and talents. Qataliña currently sits on the NANA Regional Corporation Board of Directors, ANTHC Scholarship Committee, is a member of Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation and a tribal member of the Native Village of Kotzebue.
Qataliña is a mother of six and grandmother of seven. She currently resides in Palmer, Alaska.
Eric works in the social services field helping children and families. He is also interested in addressing social and environmental issues more broadly, and uses his philosophy experience to shed light on the fundamental issues of ethics and justice they all share. Many organizations working in these areas benefit from a solid theoretical framework for engagement, and he explores that through the papers, books, podcasts, and other materials in the media environment. Translating academic materials into actionable (political) policy agendas, vision statements, etc. and remaining current with the latest research is an ongoing process and area of interest of Eric’s.
He and his wife and two preteens live in Fairbanks.
Libby is an internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter, poet, activist, teacher and lifelong Alaskan. The surprising power and depth of her music and the humor and spontaneity of her performances have attracted large and enthusiastic audiences across the continent and fans all over the world. Her six recordings have received extensive airplay on Earth and, in 2003, NASA played her song “Dig Down Deep” on the planet Mars as encouragement to the robot “Spirit.” Libby is well-known as an exhilarating and witty artist who offers a remarkable blend of passionate music, wry humor and incisive commentary on social and personal issues.
Professor Rick Steiner
currently residing in Homer, Alaska.
Anna Liljedahl, PhD
Full bio coming soon!
Kerry has lived in Alaska since he was 5 and has had many rich and varied experiences across the state. Some highlights include working in a Kodiak Bear hunting camp and the Alaska Marine Highway as a teen, and helping build the Trans Alaska Pipeline after finishing a BA in Communications from Boston University. He and his wife Ceal Smith are transitioning from Eagle River, to Homer where they plan to build the super-insulated, ultra-efficient zero-emissions home.
McKibben earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Resource Education from Alaska Pacific University and worked in Alaska’s oil industry for a decade before beginning a 15-year career as a writer. After retiring, McKibben wrote “Too Close to Home? Living with “drill, baby” on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. 350.org founder Bill McKibben (no relation) wrote, “This engrossing account of what it means to ordinary Alaskans when the oil industry shows up on their doorsteps is a good reminder that the damage from fossil fuels can hit hard locally on its way to the atmosphere and the climate.”
McKibben continues to write as a freelancer and advocate for individuals negatively impacted by the aggressive spread of the fossil fuel industry on the Kenai Peninsula. She and her husband Sandy Mazen divide their time between Ninilchik, Homer, and a winter-getaway on the Oregon Coast.