City Climate Corner

Indigenous Climate Leadership: Quinault Nation & The National Congress of American Indians

Episode Summary

The Quinault Nation is on the front line of impacts from climate change, having experienced a dramatic drop in their blueback salmon fishery, as well as rising sea levels forcing the relocation of one of their two main villages. We interview Fawn Sharp, the Vice-President and former President of the Quinault Nation in Taholah Washington, and the 23rd President of The National Congress of American Indians. We hear her story of how local impacts have driven her to lead state, national, and international action on climate change.

Episode Notes

The Quinault Nation is on the front line of impacts from climate change, having experienced a dramatic drop in their blueback salmon fishery, as well as rising sea levels forcing the relocation of one of their two main villages. We interview Fawn Sharp, the Vice-President and former President of the Quinault Nation in Taholah Washington, and the 23rd President of The National Congress of American Indians. We hear her story of how local impacts have driven her to lead state, national, and international action on climate change.


Episode Transcription


Abby Finis  00:02

Cities produce more than sixty percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Big cities get a lot of attention, but most household emissions in the US actually come from communities outside urban cores, making them critical players in climate mitigation and climate justice. City Climate Corner explores how these small- and mid-sized cities are tackling climate change and moving toward an equitable and sustainable future. I'm Abby Finis.

Larry Kraft  00:23

And, I'm Larry Kraft. We're co-hosts for City Climate Corner. Hey, Abby! 

Abby Finis  00:31

Hey, Larry. 

Larry Kraft  00:32

So Abby, you're sounding a bit congested, what's going on with you?

Abby Finis  00:36

Yeah, after two years of avoiding COVID it finally caught up with me. 

Larry Kraft  00:40


Abby Finis  00:42

But like day seven, I think.

Larry Kraft  00:44


Abby Finis  00:45


Larry Kraft  00:46

But do you feel like you're on the mend now?

Abby Finis  00:48

I hope so. There's a little bit of its ups and downs. It's one of the weirdest. You know I am a pretty healthy person, generally, you get a cold a couple times a year. And this is a very weird, unpredictable, cold. I recommend not getting it and continuing to wear masks in crowded spaces and getting your boosters and all that. It's no fun.

Larry Kraft  01:14

I just got my second booster today, especially given that I'm going to be doing a campaign felt like a good thing to do.

Abby Finis  01:21

But there's some good news in the world, right? Latest report coming out of science.

Larry Kraft  01:28

Yes, there was a report in the science journal Nature. And I saw a summary of it on Twitter. Basically, it said that if you add up all of the commitments made by governments around the world, that the trajectory will actually take us to being able to keep global warming under two degrees Celsius. Now, it's not unqualified good news, because we have to hit those commitments. And two degrees is still not a very pleasant world. But compared to where we were, you know, 5-10 years ago, when the trajectory was 3-4-5 degrees Celsius. You know, it shows that the work that's been happening over the past several years is making progress.

Abby Finis  02:14

Yeah, the more conversations that are being had the more drums that people are beating, these youth strikes, all these different groups coming to the table to demand, climate action is starting to chip away, I hope. And we can continue to demand that and leverage our will to push for these global targets to be met. 

Larry Kraft  02:39


Abby Finis  02:40

And that brings us to today's conversation, where we speak with Fawn Sharp, Vice President of the Quinault nation out in Washington, who is doing just that, and is leading efforts on all sorts of fronts on Washington and among tribal governments, and through the nation.

Larry Kraft  02:59

Right. And Fawn is also the 23rd president of the National Congress of American Indians. And so she has a role in nationwide indigenous work. Her story is really inspiring. 

Abby Finis  03:15


Larry Kraft  03:16

Let's listen. 

Abby Finis  03:17

Let's do it. 

Start of interview

Larry Kraft  03:20

Today, we are honored to welcome Fawn Sharp president of the National Congress of American Indians and vice president of the Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah, Washington. Welcome to City Climate Corner President Sharp.

Fawn Sharp  03:34

Thank you. I appreciate the invitation.

Larry Kraft  03:37

You have a fascinating and impressive story. Can you start by introducing yourself and sharing how you came to be involved in tribal leadership?

Fawn Sharp  03:46

I was born in 1970, just a couple of months before President Nixon stepped before the United States Congress to formally repudiate the policy of terminating sovereign tribal nations. And that was the beginning of an era of self determination. And at that time, my grandparents were living on the Quinault River and I would get up early in the morning and join them and my grandfather talked to me when I was about eight years old, about achieving a lot of green and what that could do. We were facing fishing wars and fishing litigation just to exercise a basic right to provide a living for our family. 

Fawn Sharp  04:23

So early, I knew what treaty abrogation meant. I knew what the threats confronting not only my family, but the entire region of tribal nations in the Pacific Northwest. So I graduated from high school when I was 15. I did a stint with the United States Central Intelligence Agency, but for graduating at 20. I took a couple of years off, went to law school and spent about 10 years away from home. When I came back, I was appointed as a judge and I also served as the Attorney General for the Quinault Nation. About 10 years into that career, our president announced her retirement and some tribal elders talk to me about running for tribal office. And I never held political office at that point. And I was in my early 30s. And I thought, you know, I've been trained to seek truth, justice, fairness, politics, it didn't quite reconcile with my personal concept, but a tribal elder put me aside and said, "Fawn you're not running to be a politician, you're running to be a leader and a leader can bring those virtues to office." That was my entree into the life of politics. And I served five consecutive terms as president of my nation. I currently serve as Vice President and entering my 17th year of elected office. I just knew from an early age, I was gifted, I had a purpose to serve, not only the people at the Quinault Nation, but tribal nations across the country and indigenous peoples globally.

Larry Kraft  05:47

I noticed within there there was the stint at the CIA, did you think from there, you would be president of the Quinault Nation?

Fawn Sharp  05:56

I had no idea. My undergraduate degree was in criminal justice. And I was too young to enter the FBI yet, you had to be 21. But at the CIA, you just have to be 18. And I looked like I was about 12 years old. And I went through the top secret security clearance process. And I knew if I would have taken a couple of years off between undergrad and law school, I could get some experience, save some money. So that was my alternate plan with a stint with the CIA.

Quinault Nation and local climate change impacts

Abby Finis  06:25

That's wild, they could write a movie about that. We want to speak with you about your climate work both within the Quinault Indian Nation and with the NCAI have to hear first, some more background information on the Quinault Nation and the people who live there.

Fawn Sharp  06:41

The Quinault Nation is an absolutely beautiful part of the world. We occupy 31 miles of international border along with Pacific Ocean, that's exclusive to us on the Olympic Peninsula, the state of Washington, very pristine. You can go that entire 31 miles and not see hardly any development. We also occupy an area near the rain forest here in the Pacific Northwest. So we have mountains, we have rivers, we have lakes, we have pristine beaches and the ocean, a lush rainforest. It's absolutely gorgeous. 

Fawn Sharp  07:16

Our people are quite resilient and strong. Public life and politics, everybody grows up talking about it, whether at the dinner table or at the local mercantile. And so the Quinault people are quite engaged. And it's that background that really inspired me to want to serve my community. And we're strong, we're resilient. We've taken on the United States several times over for overreaching into our area, mismanaging our forests. So we can be quite aggressive when it comes to protecting and advancing our inherent sovereign powers. We're also quite visionary and looking at seven generations out and how do we provide a better future for our children and grandchildren? I'm very blessed to come from such a pristine location, and very blessed to be part of a citizenry that is quite engaged in every aspect of public life.

Abby Finis  08:08

The Pacific Northwest is also one of my favorite places. It's absolutely incredible and beautiful, and is experiencing a number of climate impacts. What are you witnessing there and how is that impacting life and the ecosystems?

Fawn Sharp  08:22

We're definitely on the frontlines impacts of climate change. Early in my presidency, I became confronted with the reality that we're facing an existential threat that could not only diminish and destroy our way of life as Quinault people but all of humanity. And as a trained attorney, I had no idea I would be even working in climate policy. I didn't know what it was. But as a young president, I knew I had a major responsibility to manage our landscape in our fisheries resources. And it became clear to me when I talked to our elders and our fishermen that we were facing a sharp decline in our blueback fishery. It's a Sockeye that's unique to the Quinault River, and we've enjoyed this type of salmon for four millennia. And as I began to try to figure out how was it we went from millions of sockeye in the 50s and 60s to the year I got elected only 3000 and I learned about ocean acidification. I learned about the warming of the ocean temperature. I learned about melting glaciers in the Olympic National Park and took a helicopter flight thinking I was gonna see the glacier that feeds a Cornell River, the Anderson Glacier. When we came over the ridge, I saw it completely disappeared. 

Fawn Sharp  09:41

I was immediately confronted as a young first year President back in 2007, about this thing called climate change, and I became increasingly frustrated. In those early years I would raise climate change in government to government meetings locally, nationally, regionally with a state. I would mention climate change, the room would get quiet. And then someone would change the subject back to those early years, it was hard to have a substantive conversation about climate change. But yeah, I knew what a significant threat it was for not only the Quinault Nation, but all of humanity. 

Fawn Sharp  10:17

So back then I began to engage internationally. And I participated in my first Conference of Parties, I think it was 2008 or nine, COP 14, it was convened in Poznan, Poland. And that's when I began this long journey of doing international climate work. And it really was in response to understanding the magnitude of the crisis that the Quinault Nation was immediately facing. I had to declare multiple states of emergency due to sea level rise, we're having to move our two main villages to higher ground. Right now we're under a state of emergency because the ocean is threatening to take out the only access road into our main village along US Highway 101. And so declaring multiple states of emergency seeing the sharp decline of our fishery, just knowing that there was a major impact, I was early confronted with the existential threat of climate change in my first term as president.

Abby Finis  11:13

Wow, relocation is so disruptive. Most communities, most cities don't have to go through that. What kind of community involvement effort goes into telling people, "Hey, we're gonna have to move everything." What's involved in that?

Fawn Sharp  11:31

It was quite a challenge politically, to even work on something called climate change. In those early years of my presidency, people were raising economic issues, education issues, here's our president out traveling to Poland and talking about climate control. And so I really had to tie the work that I did across the country and around the world, on climate change to our way of life to our salmon. And once I was able to engage our citizenry, around understanding the real impacts at home, it became a point where I could bring the whole community along in the conversation. And this last year, we saw a king tide that came right over the emergency berm flooded our lower village. And it's becoming very real to our citizens now. 

Fawn Sharp  12:23

It really has galvanized a sense of community, it's bittersweet. We're having to say goodbye to our traditional village. But we also have an opportunity to envision a village at higher ground in what do we want that village to look like. And it's been a long process to manage it both practically as well as politically has been a challenge. But ultimately guided by our basic principles, the things we value, the vision we have for a better tomorrow. And now, our citizens hear climate change all the time. And they now know that the Quinault Nation was working on this long before it was a topic. I remember, early in my presidency, during the first presidential debates, I was just waiting for someone to say the words climate change, and it never was a topic. And this last presidential election, we had actual debates on the subject matter. And it really was a challenge. But just going to our basic values and principles, I really galvanized our community and then to bring our community along with the vision we have for the future has been very valuable as well.

Abby Finis  13:29

Yeah, you mentioned it was kind of bittersweet. And I think part of the sweet part is we can galvanize around this vision, and I was reading through some of the plans for the new village and there's some really cool sustainability and climate resilience elements to that. Can you explain what some of those are? 

Fawn Sharp  13:46

Even with our first building we constructed it's a generations building, it houses our elders, where they convene for lunches, our early learning, our children, part of that building is constructed out of cross laminate timber. And CLT is a way that you can build structures that are multi storied. Without steel and concrete, using cross laminate timber that sequesters carbon, it's stronger than steel. So we've incorporated some of those components. We have an energy park that we're working on that's going to incorporate other types of renewable energy. And we went to the state legislature after a failed citizen attempt at I 1631 to price carbon. But we also included in the Climate Commitment app that ultimately passed the state legislature in Washington dollars to invest in these critically important opportunities as well as ways that we can build a community that's sustainable and that's gonna last for generations.

Larry Kraft  14:55

Hey, we're taking a quick break to say if you like what you're hearing, please support us. You can do so by clicking the Support Us link on our website, at or you can go to our store and get some cool merch.

State-level action

Larry Kraft  15:12

This is a great segue. It's interesting how your concern and focus on well being of your constituents of the tribal nation led you to action at the state level. Can you talk about how that connected to statewide initiatives? You mentioned the one and I think you mentioned two in there.

Fawn Sharp  15:32

It became clear to us living in a state like Washington with governors like Christine Gregoire, who took on big tobacco and was able to hold them accountable. And Governor Jay Inslee, who ran a presidential campaign on climate change, with leadership like that, in a state like Washington, we were not able to price carbon and hold the fossil fuel industry accountable. And it was also clear to us that the resources in a public treasury whether the state legislature or in Congress are very limited, and they're not even close to meeting the scale of the climate crisis. In fact, the money that's been deployed this last year at historic levels to contend with climate change, is only going to address the symptoms of climate change. The Mega fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and Quinault knew a decade ago that these extreme weather events are going to intensify, they're going to become more frequent. And so it was clear to us if we don't defend ourselves, nobody else is going to do it. We're not going to have the resources, we have to figure out and strategically find a way to price carbon to secure the necessary resources. So we can move our village to higher ground so we can work on our ecosystem and creating the right conditions for our salmon to not only come back, but to thrive in a way that we saw our salmon return to those historic levels, we thought we have to go to the citizens. 

Fawn Sharp  17:03

We made an attempt in the state legislature, we saw the barriers in Congress. But if we go to our citizens here in the state of Washington we have a chance. And so we secured over 300,000 signatures put I1631 on the ballot, and the fossil fuel industry spent over $33 million out of state fossil fuel money to kill that campaign. I was just devastated after that loss, because I saw that was probably our last opportunity to hold the industry accountable to secure resources. And I could just imagine what was going to happen to our village, we were able to the following year begin to strategically find ways to incorporate the tribal provisions in I1631 in the Climate Commitment act. And tribal nations led that effort through the state legislature it passed. And now we have dedicated $50 million a biennium to move our villages to higher ground. 10% of all carbon revenues dedicated to tribal nations dollars for dealing with wildfires for the tribes in eastern Washington. And so it was a long drawn out effort. It was an effort, we had to directly battle with the fossil fuel industry to hold them accountable. We were successful. And now we have those resources. And so it really was born out of this idea that we had a strong sense of urgency. 

Fawn Sharp  18:25

We knew if we didn't do something no one else was going to there's just not a political appetite in this country, to price carbon to secure the resources and to hold industry accountable to actually pay for the massive destruction they've caused over generations. And yet the public treasury is is simply just barely enough to pay for the symptoms of climate change. And so that was really our guiding factor. It was a matter of survival, not only for us, but the citizens of the state of Washington and ultimately utilizing the example of our success here to nationalize it so we can help secure resources to other communities, from those who are directly responsible and it should not be born on the public treasury.

Holding Big Oil Accountable

Larry Kraft  19:10

You mentioned the fossil fuel industry, and holding them accountable. We did an episode a couple of months ago on Maui and Honolulu suing big oil. And I understand you may have some involvement in a legal approach against big oil as well. Can you tell us about that?

Fawn Sharp  19:28

Yes, I became convinced once I confronted the reality of just how aggressively the fossil fuel industry wants to deny our own vision, wants to abdicate any responsibility or leadership role to help solve this crisis I knew that once we held them accountable for all carbon emissions from this point going forward, that was going to be a good thing. But there's still this unfinished business of the massive and widespread destruction over decades, close over a century, when they knowingly and willingly were able to in the face of science commission reports to undermine climate science, when they were to strategically and aggressively undermine good public policy, independent science to confront the reality of a crisis that could destroy all of humanity and the planet. 

Fawn Sharp  20:30

I'm very committed to ensuring that there's a level of accountability for all of those because it's quite clear, they knew climate change was real, they took action to undermine science, they took action to deny climate change was a real threat, all the while making business decisions, like not constructing buildings and low levels, because they knew there's a thing of sea level rise. And so it just goes back to my sense of justice and fairness. So yes, I know that it's not a question of if, but when, just like carbon pricing, there's going to be a level of accountability. And we are working toward that, because we have so much to recover from and very few resources.

Larry Kraft  21:13

Is your legal approach based on treaties? Is it similar to what Maui and Honolulu are doing? Or are there some differences?

Fawn Sharp  21:21

It's definitely a multi prong strategy. A treaties are the supreme law of the land. Treaties reserved certain rights to tribal nations that are guaranteed from you know, the beginning of time to the end of time, we were called to places since time immemorial, and we intend to protect our resources and our natural landscape for future generations. And it's not only within our tribal communities, while we've relinquished millions of acres across the United States, through treaty, we've never relinquished a spiritual connection we have to the entire landscape. And we value and we hold a lot of reverence to the spiritual connection we have with all things living with the natural landscape. 

Fawn Sharp  22:04

I could hear just as I'm saying, this tribal elder that had a significant influence in my life was Billy Frank Jr. and he always talked about the importance of advocating for our salmon resource. He said, The salmon cannot get out of the river and march into a courtroom. And the salmon cannot get out of the river and march the halls of Congress, we have to be that voice. Because if we aren't advocating for them, nobody else will, we have that sense of responsibility and duty to ensure that the resources are protected for future generations. Our treaties, by design, maintain those values and those things that were gifted to us, from our Creator. And we have a strong and fierce sense of responsibility to protect that which was gifted to us, for future generations, and not just for our citizens, but all citizens. 

Fawn Sharp  22:56

When I think about the fishing in Europe, for example, they do not have the type of resources we have here in the United States. And I would just hate to see any of our tributaries just be absolutely void of salmon. And I've made that public statement to our citizens, we may be that last generation to see a blue back salmon, maybe if we choose to take no action. So a very strong sense of responsibility that this treaty secured, something that was so precious to our ancestors, they looked out for us, we are the seventh generation since treaty time. It carries significant weight and a constitutional conflicts of law structure here in the United States. But it also carries a lot of weight for us, as Native people, those things that our ancestors had the foresight to protect, by treaty and to guarantee by treaty. It's a sacred moment in time that we're in and we are fiercely dedicated to that. And that's definitely a significant part of any legal strategy to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable.

National Congress of American Indians

Abby Finis  24:02

So you are also the current president of the National Congress of American Indians. Can you tell us a bit about the mission and history of the NCAI?

Fawn Sharp  24:10

Yes, NCAI, was founded in 1944. We represent the sovereign tribal nations of the United States. We're the oldest and the largest national congress organization of tribal nations. And our main mission is to protect and secure and advance tribal sovereignty. We're also a voice of advocacy for our tribal nations. We have worked really hard during my term as President to ensure that the Congress was a tribal nation driven Congress of sovereign nations. And so we're taking on issues like the investigation of boarding schools like climate change, like international policy taxation, it's been a challenge leading so many tribes during a pandemic during the I call a multiple apocalyptic challenges a global pandemic climate change. 

Fawn Sharp  25:03

But I do know that we are fiercely dedicated to ensuring we not only confront these challenges, but we emerge stronger. And I've made public statements many times over. We can't think of ourselves as being weak and vulnerable under these circumstances. To the contrary, we're strong and we're resilient, our ancestors have survived just as much, if not worse conditions. And that's all in our DNA. So we may have multi generational trauma in poverty and oppression and racism. But we also have multigenerational strength, knowledge, wisdom and envision. That's not only necessary for us to survive, but it's that very valuable part of what we bring to a global conversation to a national conversation about how we can restore so much of what's lost for future generations.

Abby Finis  25:56

And focusing in on the climate portion of that the NCAI has established a Climate Action Task Force. 

Fawn Sharp  26:02


Abby Finis  26:03

What's the mission of the task force? What do they do?

Fawn Sharp  26:06

Yes, the mission of the task force is really to garner the perspective of all of our representative tribes in confronting climate change. I convened a recent board meeting of the Congress and every region reported they had an element of climate change. Governor Lewis at Hilo River mentioned, they're facing the worst drought in 1200 years. The tribes in Alaska are confronting just a myriad of impacts to climate change. Our tribes in the Great Plains, they're losing their traditional rice fields, traditional foods and traditional medicines. Our tribes in the Gulf Coast are facing the worst, in fact, some of them are still living in temporary structures due to multiple hurricanes. 

Fawn Sharp  26:52

And there's not a region within Indian country that's immune from climate change. We're all on the frontlines of climate change. We're all incredibly impacted. We all have stories and traditions. Just our elders and our ancestors that foretold of this time, we heard those as young people, and now we're seeing it become reality. And that's why I talk about this as a sacred time that we were all born and called to meet the challenge. And we realized we're only going to meet this challenge if we come together, and we rely on each other. So our task force is designed to draw upon all of Indian country the experiences of climate change, and then to hear from our respective tribes. What's your vision for how you want to confront and adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change? And what's your vision for how we can come together as a congress of tribal nations? So that's our task force.

Abby Finis  27:46

I was reading through that website, as well and the section of the climate change page that stood out to me was describing the role of climate change in separating tribal people from their natural resources and how it poses a direct threat to indigenous identity. And at the same time, there's tribal ecological wisdom and practices that are critical for climate solutions. What needs to happen to reconcile this challenge to lean and uplift tribal practices while also helping to preserve indigenous identity? How can we work together on that?

Fawn Sharp  28:24

When John Kerry addressed our Congress last fall, he made this statement that the future of humanity and the future of the planet is inextricably tied to ensuring the voices of indigenous peoples are at the table. We've been successful. And we've been effective at elevating the value of traditional ecological knowledge at the highest levels. In fact, President Biden issued an executive order on traditional ecological knowledge. So we've been quite successful in advancing that part of the climate agenda in strategy. And we also make the point that while no one is immune from climate change, everyone has a role and a responsibility and brings something unique. 

Fawn Sharp  29:11

That body of knowledge and that brain trust that's necessary to confront the existential crisis of climate change, only we can bring that to the table. And so knowing that we have a responsibility, and we've advocated for that, with federal agencies, with the White House with members of Congress with the select committee on the climate crisis. And every time we're able to advocate our position and educate we're strengthening that relationship between sovereign tribal nations in the United States so that we can work together on this issue. Not only domestically, but in partnership internationally to support the leadership role of the United States, as we have for generations. And so I'm really excited about that other part of our work as it relates to our relationship with the United states that work on climate policy both as a matter of domestic policy, but also foreign policy. And we saw that play out in Scotland at COP 26. And it was, it was quite exciting to have worked on this for so long. And to never get anywhere really with the United States in terms of partnership on the international stage with us last year, we were able to do that. And it was very timely.


Larry Kraft  30:25

I resonate with so much of what you've said, and I'm just inspired by listening to you in this conversation. Do you have advice for others that are listening? Be they in tribal nations or other communities?

Fawn Sharp  30:38

Just as you asked the question, I immediately thought about the responsibility we have to engage young people. And that next generation. I can't emphasize that enough. We platformed our Youth Commission at the National Congress of American Indians. I generally provide a state of Indian nations address in January, February. And this year was the first time we provided an opportunity for our young people to provide a state of Indian nations from their perspective. The top issue that they identified with the mental health crisis and youth suicide among natives. The second issue is climate change. They are keenly aware of it as I think a lot of young people across the world. And quite frankly, the work that we do now, is going to be implemented and executed by that next generation. And we must have a seamless transition of leadership. Because this is a multi generational challenge. And a 15 year old today, with a decade of experience is going to be a 25 year old, who's going to be prepared and ready to confront the existential threat of climate change. I think there's tremendous power and energy and vision within our young people. And we have a responsibility to create multiple points of entry to give them voice to give them a place to learn and guide them through that next generation of leadership. We cannot afford to not bring them along in this conversation.

Larry Kraft  32:09

Okay. What she said. I so agree with you. Fawn, thank you so much. This has been a fantastic conversation. We really appreciate your time.

Abby Finis  32:22

Yeah. Thanks so much Fawn. 

Abby and Larry Debrief

Abby Finis  32:25

Wow, what a really inspiring and great conversation. What did you think?

Larry Kraft  32:32

Oh, gosh, I think I could talk for a whole episode about things. But we'll try to narrow it down a bit. I really resonated with when she said, Look, I didn't start out as a climate focused individual. But as a result of the impact she was seeing to her nation and their way of life, that it just became obvious that one had to do that. And the thing that jumps out to me is the salmon numbers where it was millions, not that long ago. And now 3000. That's just mind boggling.

Abby Finis  33:03

Yeah. And I just think about when there's that relationship with the natural world, and you're tied more closely to it, and you're seeing the depletion of salmon, you're seeing the glaciers disappear, you're seeing the tides come in, stronger, and encroaching more. And she made a decision to start focusing on climate change, and was impacted by that. And it's done a lot to galvanize leadership in the Quinault Nation in the NCAI. And now we're seeing the force of that. And I think that it's really powerful to have that connection, and then to be able to use that to drive forward your mission and what needs to get done. 

Larry Kraft  33:49

Yeah. The point when she's talking about the part of their communities that needs to be moved, just let that sit with you for a moment. Can you imagine if where you live, you had to and all your neighbors had to move because of climate change?

Abby Finis  34:04

Yeah. And we're seeing that in parts of the world, whether it's from sea level rise, or wildfires are things that come in and totally uproot and destroy communities. It is increasing, but most of us are not impacted by that. We're not feeling that the approach, I think that they're taking and having those conversations with people and planning for moving, it's totally disruptive. And I'm sure there's some trauma there of having to leave behind everything and totally start a new. But they also get to share in a collective vision and work toward realizing that vision and it sounds like a lot of really great projects are happening in the new location of the villages. And so there's some good coming out of that story and it will allow them to prosper for generations.

Larry Kraft  34:53

Another thing is, I really was touched by the comment of the tribal elders saying to her, we have to advocate for the salmon, they're not gonna hop out of the river and do it for themselves. It's our responsibility and our connection to this land.

Abby Finis  35:10

The responsibility is speaking, it's like the Lorax. Right? This is speaking for the trees. And speaking for the salmon, those who can't, or don't have the means to advocate for themselves. But also passing that along to the next generation and making sure that it doesn't stop and enabling these younger generations to have the tools to have the knowledge, the wisdom that they need to create a better world.

Larry Kraft  35:35

She has this really inspiring mix of realism of how bad it is but also of energy and hope of moving forward when she talks about look for this is a sacred time we were born in this time and are called to address it. I found that really energizing.

Abby Finis  35:54

I think this was just all around a really inspirational conversation. I really appreciate fun joining us for the episode. 

Abby Finis  36:08

We hope you enjoyed this episode of City Climate Corner. If you like what you're hearing, make sure to subscribe and give us a review. If you're able, become a monthly supporter through Patreon. As always, you can find more information on this topic and resources from each episode's guests on our webpage If you have an idea for the show, send us an email at or find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Larry Kraft  36:31

City Climate Corner is produced by Abby Finis and me, Larry Kraft. Edited by, me. Our production assistant is Maggie Morin. Music by 

Larry Kraft  36:40

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. 

Larry Kraft  36:42

Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time.