Intern in Alaska with the Northern Alaska Environmental Center
Have you ever wondered about the realities of life in Alaska? If you answered yes, then this program is for you. The New School’s Global, Urban, and Environmental Studies (GLUE) has formed a partnership with the Northern Alaskan Environmental Center (the Northern Center) in order to bring students to Alaska for the opportunity of a lifetime. As an intern through this program, you will receive a scholarship which includes airfare and living expenses for the summer. The program runs from the beginning of June to the beginning of August, usually spanning 10-12 weeks.Alaska is facing a number of environmental and social justice questions and challenges, and you can be a part of the team that is helping to promote the preservation of landscapes and communities. Our northernmost state is experiencing the effects of climate change exponentially more than the lower 48 states. And now state and federal government are attempting to push legislation through Congress that will embolden the oil and gas companies to develop vast tracts of land into drilling stations and roads. Many of these projects will cut through indigenous communities, across scenic rivers and plains, and the grazing and breeding grounds of caribou, the staple source of nutrition for many people.Republican Senator Lisa Murkowksi is currently attempting to hammer out a deal that will provide two leases, each for no less than 400,000 acres of a 1.2 million acre coastal plain area. These leases would go to companies that would drill into these pristine wildlife areas. Imagine 80% of Alaskan wilderness being compromised for the cause of fossil fuel extraction. This doesn’t have to happen.The Tishman Environment and Design Center had the great pleasure of hosting a study break with Elisabeth Dabney, the executive director of The Northern Center this week. She gave a moving account of the fight against Big Oil and the US government that the Northern Center has taken on. Two main issues stand at the heart of the mission of the Northern Center. The Ambler Road, a highway that would cut through 220 miles of Alaskan wilderness in order to provide transportation to mines in Northern Alaska; and this bill proposing to allow big oil to come into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This area is extremely important because of the caribou that graze and breed here. Caribou is a staple in the Native Alaskan diet. This would jeopardize their source of food.The Northern Center is involved in three programs that are all directed at accomplishing their mission. The mission is as follows, from their site: “The Northern Alaska Environmental Center promotes conservation of the environment and sustainable resource stewardship in Interior and Arctic Alaska through education and advocacy.” The programs they are involved in are The Arctic Program, The Clean Water and Mining Program, and The Conservation Solutions Program. The Northern Center is currently working to present renewable energies as an alternative option for development within the state. The Northern Center is also currently working with the Alaskan Natives to make sure that the individuals who live on land that is threatened by these oil and gas developments understand exactly what is at stake for them if the legislation goes through. They organize meetings and rallies to disseminate information and stand against fossil fuel development.Their role is crucial when one considers the tactics used by the state and federal governments to obtain the Environmental Impact Statements for the Ambler Road. This road is particularly interesting because it would be built by the Bureau of Land Management, using government funding. However, the road is considered for industrial use only, and would not provide any resource for the Native Alaskans. The money that stands to be made from this road would just go to the mining companies who are extracting resources.As an intern with the Northern Center, you will be helping them to further their programs and continue fighting the good fight for the preservation of the pristine lands that belong to Alaska. You will be involved in many of the processes related to fighting fossil fuel policies, standing for the rights of indigenous communities, and implementing sustainable systems. The flyer below details the prerequisites, the application process, and the scholarship award. Any further questions should be addressed to Alan McGowan. The application can be found here.