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Tomorrow, Thu. Nov. 19—the UNM Biodiversity Webinar Series with U.S. Senator Tom Udall serving as honorary co-host will present our third webinar: “Indigenous Kinship and Multispecies Justice.” Registration Link:

The webinar will feature three distinguished Indigenous panelists: Norma Kassi from Yukon, Canada, Goldman Prize-winning conservationist and long-time defender of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Robin Wall Kimmerer, scientist and celebrated author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants and Director of the Native Peoples and the Environment at SUNY-Syracuse; and Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Nation and President of the National Congress of American Indians. Indigenous Kinship and Multispecies Justice webinar will open with welcome messages from Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Deb Haaland. The webinar will be moderated by Indigenous scholar Elspeth Iralu, Visiting Assistant Professor of Indigenous Planning at the University of New Mexico.

In October 2019, Senator Udall introduced the “30x30 Resolution to Save Nature” in the U.S. Senate—a bold proposal to protect 30% of land and 30% of ocean in the United States by 2030—to help mitigate the intensifying biodiversity and the climate crises. In February 2020, Rep. Haaland introduced a companion “30x30 Resolution to Save Nature” in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“A plan championed by retiring Sen. Tom Udall to harness the nation’s lands and ocean waters to fight climate change is getting a boost from President-elect Joe Biden,” the Associated Press reported last Friday. “Biden has pledged to sign an executive order on his first day to support the (30x30) plan, as part of Biden’s $2 trillion program to slow global warming.”

While Sen. Udall and Rep. Haaland are working hard to implement the sweeping and much-needed land, water and biodiversity conservation proposal “30x30” that is deeply attentive to environmental and economic justice and Indigenous rights—President Trump, on the other hand, is doing all he can, during the lame duck session, to rapidly usher in the destruction of a biological nursery of global significance—the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—a place the Indigenous Gwich’in people call “the sacred place where life begins,” and the Indigenous Iñupiat people call “home.” 

“The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would begin the formal process of selling leases to oil companies in a last-minute push to achieve its long-sought goal of allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska,” the New York Times reported two days ago. “That sets up a potential sale of leases just before Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, leaving the new administration of Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has opposed drilling in the refuge, to try to reverse them after the fact.”

President-elect Joe Biden opposes drilling in the Arctic Refuge. Sen. Udall opposes drilling in the Arctic Refuge. Rep. Haaland opposes drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

If you are curious to know more on the campaign to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—I encourage you to please read “Arctic Refuge Protectors: An Open Letter from Teachers and Scholars.” I had the honor to co-write the letter and co-organize the campaign last year with three dear colleagues: Gwich’in conservationist Norma Kassi (who is one of the three panelists of tomorrow’s webinar); Iñupiaq conservationist and Arctic Indigenous Scholar Rosemary Ahtuangaruak; and historian Finis Dunaway author of the forthcoming book, Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice (University of North Carolina Press, May 2021). For now, I welcome you to take a look at the book Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point that I had the honor to edit (Seven Stories Press, 2013). Dan Simon, publisher of Seven Stories Press has very generously granted us the permission to share PDF of the entire book online for a limited time, through end of this week, which you can download at no cost: FREE DOWNLOAD HERE.

The Indigenous and conservation organizations are now working hard to stop the Trump’s administration’s attempt to desecrate the Arctic Refuge. A press release “Trump Administration Invites Oil Industry to Desecrate Sacred Arctic Refuge” from Earthjustice is excellent and includes statements from Indigenous leaders. 

I close by sharing with you a conversation “Cross Continental Conversations: Arctic NWR and Valle de Oro NWR” I had, on Monday, November 9, with Jennifer Owen-White, Refuge Manager of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We discussed how New Mexico is connected to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and how what we do locally has impacts across the continent: YouTube LINK HERE. My deepest gratitude to Friends of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge who helped organize the conversation—and for being a Partner in Education for the UNM Biodiversity Webinar Series.

BACK TO TOMORROW’S WEBINAR… If you have not registered yet, please do so today. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Subhankar Banerjee
Director and Founder, 
Species in Peril project at UNM
You are receiving this email because of your past and/or ongoing affiliation with conservationist Subhankar Banerjee.

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