In mid-December, Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced the twenty members of the state’s new climate change task force. Governor Walker said the team “is another critical step in advancing meaningful climate policy.” The task force will be led by Lt. Governor Byron Mallott.
The group is made of Alaskans representing a wide range of interests and includes SAAS senior Sam Schimmel, a Siberian Yupik and Kenaitze Indian. Sam is very interested in this issue and how it affects Native traditions such as hunting and fishing. “We must combat climate change and we must try and slow it down, but we must also address the slow-moving emergency that our communities face,” Sam said. “We need a definite end result, and that result would be giving aid to communities that allow communities to continue their traditions.”
The team held its initial meeting on December 18 and will provide the Alaska Governor with recommendations on guidance on climate change on an ongoing basis.
In November, Sam spent some time in Washington DC as part of his role as a Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) Champion of Change. While there he met with Ron Lessard, the Department of Education Executive Director, about the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education to discuss school choice. He also sat in on a senate hearing about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and was a panelist for the CNAY State of the Native Youth 2017 Annual Report. Sam was recently named to the inaugural Cook Inlet Tribal Council Youth Advisory Board.
Be sure to visit Seattle Academy’s community website to stay posted on Sam’s continued work on the national level.