Artists Know Climate Change Session #2

Bjorn Olson - Sunday, February 19, 2017

Artist's Know Climate Change Logo

The Artists Know Climate Change art contest is hosting three “sessions” during the contest to help artists refine and define their particular topic and expand the conversation of climate change in our community.

Last week, Asia Freeman, from Bunnell Art Gallery, and Jessica Shepherd, from KBNERR, gave presentations on local impacts and artistic responses to climate change.

This week, Kim McNett and Bjørn Olson will be presenting about personal choices and action.  

Please join us at the KBNERR building -2181 Kachemak, Dr. Homer – on Tuesday the 21st at 6:00 PM for these presentations and discussion.

Read more about the contest here:

Alaskans Know Climate Change - Stickers

Bjorn Olson - Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Alaskans Know Climate Change stickers are in. 

Be on the lookout for them in your community and help us make them as visible as possible.

Thank you

Climate Change Education

Bjorn Olson - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Kachemak Bay Conservation Society (KBCS) is developing an Alaskan Climate Change Education Campaign we will unveil this winter. 

Alaska is experiencing the effects of man-made climate change; from loss of sea ice, melting permafrost, coastal erosion, community relocation, and habitat loss to name a few. Alaskan's know climate change and science has predicted climate change, and yet, many in our state are still struggling to make these connections. KBCS is working to develop a variety of climate change education tools and resources to help our citizens link the dots, so to speak, and help begin taking actions to address climate change mitigation before the consequences of our inaction become disastrous to our way of life and expensive or impossible to repair.   

We are in the process of developing tools and resources but we will soon be printing our bumper stickers and posters to share freely around the state - Alaskans Know Climate Change. 

We have also produced a short video titled, 'How To Talk To A Climate Change Denier'. Please watch and share. 

Many of us feel impotent since the disastrous outcome of our recent election. It's time we put our minds together and start working to solve what has been called, 'the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.'

If you would like to get involved please join KBCS at our next board meeting at 5:30PM, on the 30th of November at 3734 Ben Walters Ln., Homer, AK (Cook Inletkeeper building)

I hope to see you at the next meeting.

-Bjørn Olson

How to Talk to A Climate Change Denier from Bjørn on Vimeo.

Coal’s Last Gamble: A choking industry bets on one more big score

Bjorn Olson - Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Grist has written a fantastic and comprehensive article about the proposed Chuitna Mine. 

"The coastal village of Tyonek lies on Cook Inlet, about 45 miles west of Anchorage, just a few miles downriver from the proposed mine site. For the tribe, which numbers fewer than 200 people, the mine represents an existential threat. “We will go to war if someone comes down here and starts plowing over us,” tribal president Art Standifer tells me. “We’ll go to battle.”

With the locals deeply opposed, the controversy over the Chuitna mine raises another, deeper question: Why, in 2016, is anyone willing to go to such lengths for a dirty and dying industry?

Read full story HERE :

Loren Flagg -Prehistory of KBCS Part 3

Bjorn Olson - Thursday, May 19, 2016

"This month marks the 40th anniversary of the jack-up rig George Ferris being “stuck firmly in 82 feet of clay just off the Homer Spit,” as the Homer News reported it on May 13, 1976. The incident proved to be the catalyst for the state to buy back oil leases that had been sold in Kachemak Bay. In this three-part series, Loren Flagg gives details of the Kachemak Bay oil lease sale and how the bay eventually was designated a Critical Habitat Area. The series is an abridged version of Chapter 10, “Kachemak Bay Oil Lease Fiasco” from his book “Fish, Oil & Follies.”"

"The committee was shown evidence that Kachemak Bay was in fact one of the “most highly productive marine environments in the world.” Studies showed how current gyres in outer Kachemak Bay allowed larval stages of crab and shrimp to develop and settle within the bay and that bioassay studies indicated that these larvae were extremely sensitive to very low levels of hydrocarbons. A final point was that the leases that had been issued were smack in the middle of the most biologically sensitive area."

Read full article from the Homer News HERE.  

Aphids and Bees

Bjorn Olson - Monday, May 16, 2016

Spruce Aphids and Honeybees

The spruce aphid has invaded Homer.  Our spruce trees have become heavily infected with the spruce aphid due to persistent warm winters.  Spruce aphids can survive when winter temperatures stay above 14 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended time.  Homer has set all-time monthly records the past two winters with high temperatures reaching into the low 50s (NOAA Historical Data).

Homer is developing into an entrepreneurial beekeeping community, with hives supporting around 1.5 million honeybees.  Our bees are threatened indirectly by the spruce aphid.  The only way to really kill the spruce aphid is by using systemic insecticides that kill insects.  Since bees are insects, our bees are put in jeopardy with the use of insecticides to kill the aphids. There are two methods of using insecticides for spruce aphids; one is to spray the trees, the other is to hire an arborist to directly inject the trees.  Either method exposes bees to the insecticide.

Bees gather spruce tree sap to make a substance called ‘propolis’ used to seal cracks in the hive honeycomb.  When a bee visits a spruce tree treated with insecticide, the bee may take insecticide laced sap back to the hive.  Exposure to the insecticide could kill the bees or weaken them to the point they cannot forage. The bees need our help to survive, but we also need their help for survival.  We depend on their pollinating powers for our food.

Before you spray or direct inject spruce trees on your property with an insecticide, think of the honeybee, and perhaps reconsider your use of insecticides.   Instead, keep your spruce tree well-watered thereby saving the tree and the bees.

For the good of the bees,


Linda Gorman

Homer Girls Honey

Click HERE for further reading about the spruce aphid. 

Loren Flagg talks about pre-history of KBCS - Part 2

Bjorn Olson - Friday, May 13, 2016
Part two:

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the jack-up rig George Ferris being “stuck firmly in 82 feet of clay just off the Homer Spit,” as the Homer News reported it on May 13, 1976. The incident proved to be the catalyst for the state to buy back oil leases that had been sold in Kachemak Bay. In this three-part series, Loren Flagg gives details of the Kachemak Bay oil lease sale and how the bay eventually was designated a Critical Habitat Area. The series is an abridged version of Chapter 10, “Kachemak Bay Oil Lease Fiasco” from his book “Fish, Oil & Follies.

After biologists and chemists for SOCAL gave  their dog-and-pony show, concluding  that an offshore oil spill in Cook Inlet would have “insignificant effects,” Homer folks agreed that Big O’s presentation was certainly slick! But it was now Homer’s turn to speak.

 Big Oil soon learned that Homer area residents were not as ignorant or naive as they may have presumed. A total of 18 citizens testified and the next day the Homer News characterized this testimony as follows: “The research that had been done, the carefully worked speeches, the backgrounds and expertise of individuals, the heartfelt emotions expressed by people who really care about their environment and quality of life in Homer, Alaska — all were impressive. Several fishermen spoke, noting the importance of the commercial fishing industry to Homer, the unique biological richness of Kachemak Bay, and the loss of pots they have already suffered from increased surface traffic.”

Read the full article:

Loren Flagg talks about pre-history of KBCS

Bjorn Olson - Monday, May 09, 2016
Tutka Seiner in Kachemak Bay

Kachemak Bay Conservation Society is one of the oldest conservation organizations in Alaska. If you are new to our organization, you may be wondering what our origins are.

Luckily, the Homer News is publishing a three-part article series regarding the events that led up to it. This is one of three.

"It all started in late November 1973 when the Alaska Department of Natural Resources decided to rush through an oil lease sale for Kachemak Bay without holding a public hearing. Held on Dec. 13, 1973, the Kachemak Bay lease sale brought in nearly $25 million and was the second most profitable in state history following the Prudhoe Bay sale. Standard Oil of California had dominated this, the 28th oil and gas lease sale in state history, taking 17 tracts and paying $16.6 million. Other major bidders were Shell at $5.4 million and Texaco at $2.6 million. The tracts drawing the greatest interest happened to be smack in the middle of the most important crab breeding and rearing area in Cook Inlet."

Read the full article

Carbon Tax

Bjorn Olson - Thursday, May 05, 2016
Comparison of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and emissions from volcanoes

Unless you have lived in Alaska for only a couple years you will have no doubt noticed incredible changes in the weather. From Barrow to Bethel and all points in between, no one can deny that these changes in climate are pronounced, tangible, and often frightening.

For many, these changes seem to be an upgrade. Who wouldn’t prefer 40º days in January? From a simple humanistic point of view a warmer climate seems like an improvement but this is not true. Our lives, lifestyle, and livelihoods will all be radically altered if the warming trend continues.

For instance, many coastal communities will have to be evacuated or moved if sea levels rise and warming continues. Loss of sea ice allows storms to blow on open water, which, generates waves and causes coastal erosion. It has been estimated that the cost per person to relocate is upwards of $7million, and the average village population is 300. The salmon many of us depend on for livelihood and sustenance are hatched and reared in streams and lakes – habitats that are warming. If a threshold in temperature is crossed, productivity drops. The warmer it gets the worse this becomes. Wildfires are increasing at an incredible rate and in the last few years we’ve even begun to see tundra fires. Tundra fires destroy caribou habitat and wildfires destroy homes and infrastructure.

These are just a few of the many examples of how our lives will be altered in the immediate future if climate warming is allowed to proceed unchecked.

Climate change is so big. It is so massive an issue and phenomena that it is tempting to throw your hands up in the face of it and hide under the covers. This issue is singular and humanity has never had to face a challenge this daunting. There seem to be two general reactions to the climate change issue. One reaction is to modify personal behavior. These people often ride their bikes to work, carpool, fly less, eat locally grown food, insulate their homes and generally consider ways to reduce their personal carbon footprint. The other reaction is more nihilistic. Because the issue of climate change is so intimidating some people choose to ignore it and hope it just goes away.

Neither of these reactions is very useful. There is tremendous value in minimizing personal impact. However, if we continue to work only in small pockets and as individuals the cumulative impact is negligible - like trying to demolish a skyscraper armed with nothing more than a dull spoon. In order to tackle the issue of climate change, policy and action is needed on a state, national, and international level.

The solution to solving climate change is to attach a price on carbon. The carbon we emit, by burning fossil fuels, is what economists call a negative externality – a cost that is suffered by a third party as the result of an economic transaction. In this case, the third party is the entire biosphere and all future generations.

description of carbon tax pricing

The way scientists measure greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is in parts per million. Before the Industrial Revolution the global average of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (280ppm). Since the late 1800’s that number has increased to over 400 parts per million. What caused this incredible increase of atmospheric CO2? The wholesale adoption of fossil fuels as our primary energy, and extensive destruction of natural carbon sinks, is what changed.

Climatologists, and other scientists who study climate issues, agree that if the global average temperature rises more than 2ºC (3.6º Fahrenheit) there will be massive disruption to biodiversity and human livelihood. It has also been estimated that in order to keep us below the 2ºC increase we should have no more than 350 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere. The time to reduce our carbon footprint was yesterday, but now will have to do.

In 2008 British Columbia implemented a carbon tax that by all accounts has proven wildly successful. The B.C. carbon tax is revenue neutral, meaning that as people pay for the negative externalities they are responsible for, by burning fossil fuels, other taxes decrease. At the heart of the B.C. carbon tax is a simple idea: tax what society does not like or finds harmful and encourage the things society does like, e.g. jobs and income.

Since 2008, B.C.’s fossil fuel consumption has dropped by 18% and their rate of economic growth has kept pace with the rest of Canada over that time – dispelling the myth that carbon taxes are bad for job growth and the economy.

Here in Alaska we do not have an income tax but we do have property taxes and we do have the PFD. A well-defined and aggressive tax on carbon could reduce the pressure on property ownership and save the PFD for future generations, as was intended. We are in fiscal and environmental crisis mode here in Alaska. A carbon tax may be the silver bullet to both.

As state government debates and discusses ways to save Alaska from financial ruin taxing carbon needs to be dripping off of everyone’s lips. Currently, low oil prices are terrible for our economy but low oil prices are a painless time to begin taxing carbon. It is time to take responsibility into our own hands and remove it from the oil companies and OPEC.

It is entirely unlikely that there is a single Alaskan who does not value wild salmon, caribou herds, distinctive native cultures, majestic glaciers and wildly abundant biodiversity. Climate change threatens all of these and more. It is time for us to take a stand to protect what we love.

-Bjørn Olson

Welcome To The New Website

Bjorn Olson - Thursday, May 28, 2015

Welcome to Kachemak Bay Conservation Societies’ new website. Please take a minute to peruse the various pages, get a sense of who we are and consider becoming a member.

Kachemak Bay Conservation Society was loosely formed in 1976 as a reaction to the disastrous George Ferris oil-rig incident. In 1981 the society became a 501.c3 nonprofit and is the second oldest conservation nonprofit in Alaska.

Through advocacy, education, information and collaboration the mission of KBCS is to protect the environment of the Kachemak Bay region and the state of Alaska. Areas of specific concern are salmon habitat protections, oil and gas development, climate change, ocean acidification and responsible stewardship of our natural resources to name a few.

KBCS is excited to be the sponsoring and administrative organization for Salmonfest, formerly known as Salmonstock. Salmonfest is a three-day celebration of fish and music in Ninilchik Alaska and draws roughly seven thousand festivalgoers. This year’s lineup includes Emmylou Harris, The Motet, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Marchforth Marching Band, Dirty River Ramblers and many others.

Go to the Salmonfest website for tickets and more information.

Please check back in for new articles, action alerts, photos and videos that will be continue to be a part of this evolving website and be sure to like us on facebook. If you’d like to get involved or become a member go to the Membership/Donation page or contact us by phone or email.

In the words of Wendell Berry, “We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.”

Thank you for visiting our site, we hope you enjoy it.


Kachemak Bay Conservation Society

3734 Ben Walters Ln., Homer, AK 99603    •    (907) 235-8214   •    Fax (907) 235-4069    •