A timber harvest site is seen in Yakutat. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz)

Letter from Yakutat: Deep cuts on the Lost Coast

BY: - February 13, 2023

Centuries ago, a few dozen Alaska Natives left their home on an epic migration. They were of Ahtna descent, and their trip began in Alaska’s Interior, in the Copper River watershed. They passed through some of the most rugged terrain in the world, and for a period of years, the group lived in the vicinity […]

Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 recover a high-altitude surveillance balloon on Feb. 5, 2023, off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. U.S. fighter aircraft operating under U.S. Northern Command authority engaged and destroyed a high-altitude surveillance balloon over U.S. territorial waters at the order of US President Joe Biden. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Thompson/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

China violated international laws and standards with its surveillance balloon

BY: - February 10, 2023

The United States recently shot down a Chinese high-altitude balloon after it apparently travelled from China and flew over Alaska and British Columbia. Its first public sighting was over Montana where it was seen to “hang out for a longer period of time” over military installations where nuclear missiles are located. Panic bells sounded, and […]

The area studied involves the Arctic Ocean quadrant with the Kara and Barents Seas – the shallower regions north of Norway and Russia – and the neighboring central Arctic. (Map provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Atmospheric rivers are hitting the Arctic more often, and increasingly melting its sea ice

BY: - February 8, 2023

Atmospheric rivers, those long, powerful streams of moisture in the sky, are becoming more frequent in the Arctic, and they’re helping to drive dramatic shrinking of the Arctic’s sea ice cover. While less ice might have some benefits – it would allow more shipping in winter and access to minerals – sea ice loss also […]

A sign displays a message about staying safe from the coronavirus at the entrance to the East To'hajiilee housing community on May 25, 2020, in To’Hajiilee Indian Reservation, New Mexico. The Navajo Nation, which at the time suffered the highest rate of COVID-19 cases in the United States per capita, implemented curfews to try to stop the virus’s spread. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

Native Americans have experienced a dramatic decline in life expectancy during the pandemic

BY: - February 7, 2023

Six and one-half years. That’s the decline in life expectancy that the COVID-19 pandemic wrought upon American Indians and Alaska Natives, based on an August 2022 report from the National Center for Health Statistics. This astounding figure translates to an overall drop in average living years from 71.8 years in 2019 to 65.2 by the […]

A snow-covered Alaska is seen from space in this November 2001 photo from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on a NASA satellite. (NASA/GSFC photo)

Alaska’s environmental standards are not some of the best

BY: and - February 3, 2023

Readers of the Alaska Beacon know that Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s tough remarks about flaring made during his State of the State speech were basically nothing but hot air.  This seems to be a pattern.  In a recent op-ed Dunleavy promised that Alaska has “some of the toughest environmental standards in the world,” but offered no […]

President Barack Obama presents NBA champion and human rights advocate Bill Russell the Medal of Freedom on Feb. 15, 2011. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/The Conversation)

A Black history primer on African Americans’ fight for equality — five essential reads

BY: - February 2, 2023

As the father of Black history, Carter G. Woodson had a simple goal – to legitimize the study of African American history and culture. To that end, in 1912, shortly after becoming the second African American after W.E.B. Du Bois to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard, Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro […]

A home burns after a fast moving wildfire swept through the area in the Centennial Heights neighborhood of Louisville, Colorado, on Dec. 30, 2021. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Western wildfires destroyed 246% more homes and buildings over the past decade

BY: , , and - February 1, 2023

It can be tempting to think that the recent wildfire disasters in communities across the West were unlucky, one-off events, but evidence is accumulating that points to a trend. In a new study, we found a 246% increase in the number of homes and structures destroyed by wildfires in the contiguous Western U.S. between the […]

Ellesmere Island is seen in this 2000 photo taken from space. (Photo by NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team)

Ancient primates’ fate offers a lesson as climate change speeds up

BY: - January 30, 2023

Two new species of prehistoric primate were recently identified by scientists studying fossils from Canada’s Ellesmere Island in the high Arctic. The primates are closely related and likely originated from a single colonisation event, following which they split into two species: Ignacius dawsonae and Ignacius mckennai. At 52 million years old, they represent the most […]

A man walks through the flags of the 'In America: Remember' public art installation near the Washington Monument on Sept. 19, 2021, in Washington, D.C. The installation commemorated all the Americans who have died due to COVID-19. It was based on a concept by artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, and includes more than 650,000 small plastic flags, some with personal messages to those who have died, planted in 20 acres of the National Mall. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. continue to be undercounted, research shows

BY: , , and - January 27, 2023

Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, a recurring topic of debate has been whether official COVID-19 death statistics in the U.S. accurately capture the fatalities associated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Some politicians and a few public health practitioners have argued that COVID-19 deaths are overcounted. For instance, a January […]

Salmon hang to dry on a rack at Lake Clark National Park in 2018. Lake Clark is part of the Bristol Bay region. (Photo provided by National Park Service)

EPA’s work underscores why proposed Pebble Mine is wrong for unique Bristol Bay

BY: - January 26, 2023

In the coming days, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release its final determination for Clean Water Act Section 404c restrictions in Bristol Bay, Alaska. If the previously released recommended determination is a guide, the final determination will provide long-sought protections against the proposed Pebble Mine, lifting a cloud of uncertainty under which […]

Various pages of U.S. IRS tax return forms are seen in this undated photo. (Photo by Phillip Rubino/Getty Images)

U.S. House Republicans go to bat for wealthy tax cheaters and against the national interest

BY: - January 25, 2023

The new U.S. House majority nearly came to blows in electing one of their own as speaker of the House of Representatives. But those deep fissures were nowhere to be seen days later, when they voted unanimously for a bill that would protect the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else. Right out […]

House Speaker McCarthy’s powers are still strong – but he’ll be fighting against new rules

BY: - January 23, 2023

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy is already facing the limits of his power. A single member of the House – from the far-right Freedom Caucus to a progressive on the far left, or any member in between – can threaten his speakership. And at least one Democrat already is promising to do just that. […]