• Can my GPS lead me to a sustainable future? The role of technology and lessons from three remote Arctic communities

      Monz, Chris; Schmidt, Jennifer I.; Hausner, Vera (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2019)
      This presentation outlines research involving 35 residents of Brevig Mission, Noatak, and Noorvik during March 2017 were asked to evaluate values and beliefs regarding technology, climate change, and subsistence. Interviewees indicated that technology was helpful in their hunting and subsistence activities, but it was also expensive and may contribute to taking larger risks. Furthermore, technology was not seen as making up entirely for the impacts arising from changing climate.
    • Planting the Seeds to Examine Food Security Challenges in the Alaska Food-Energy-Water Nexus

      Schmidt, Jennifer I. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska, 2019)
      What is the Food-Energy-Water Nexus? It is the relationship between the energy that is used to clean and treat water and to grow food. It is also the recognition that it takes water to grow food and produce electrical power, and that it takes food to power us all to keep these systems running. This set of relationships can be considered at different scales including the "micro" that is most characteristic of small island communities in Alaska. This presentation was delivered at the Alaska Food Policy Council 2019 Festival and Conference.
    • Stoking the flame: Subsistence and wood energy in rural Alaska, United States

      Schmidt, Jennifer I.; Byrd, Amanda; Curl, Jennifer; Brinkman, Todd J.; Heeringa, Krista (Elsevier BV, 2021-01)
      Energy costs are large and increasing in rural Alaska communities, so communities are turning to renewable energy. While, many of these communities have a mixed subsistence-cash economy, the relationship between renewable energy and subsistence has not been studied. Tanana, Alaska has a biomass program and we conducted interviews with 61 households in 2017 to understand how residents perceive the program and its association with subsistence activities. We analyzed Alaska Department of Fish & Game subsistence surveys from 89 communities to estimate differences in subsistence harvest between households that harvest wood and those that do not. Interviews indicated that people who harvest wood for the biomass program were six times more likely to engage in subsistence. Subsistence harvests were nearly double (184 kg/per capita) in households that harvested wood for personal use versus those that did not (101 kg/per capita). Equipment used for both activities was similar, and 57% respondents combined wood harvesting with other activities (e.g. subsistence, travel, etc.). Higher household incomes and employment were positively associated with subsistence participation (p < 0.001) while only household incomes was positively associated with wood harvest through the biomass program (p < 0.001). Overall, the program was perceived as having a positive effect (69%) for the community because it has created jobs (36%), saved people money (23%), promoted sharing (16%), and reduced fuel use by the community (15%). Our research shows that biomass programs have the potential to complement subsistence activities and enhance the sustainability of communities in rural Alaska that are faced with high energy costs.