This is historic. Delegates from 196 nations just signed the “Paris Outcome,” the first ever universal, legally-binding framework for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The Outcome aims to limit average global temperature rise “well below” 2º Celsius. These nations have made “pledges.” The agreement does not become binding until adopted by each nation, which must be done by April 21, 2017 (for the emissions reduction goals to come into force in 2020). This is the greatest step ever taken to slow global climate change. Our job here at home: vote in a new U.S. Congress that will work together, stop bickering and obstructing, and lead us where we need to go – into a future bright with cooperation and clean energy, one that preserves a beautiful, bountiful planet for our children’s children; one that leaves room for redpolls (like this little guy pictured here), and whales, and wonderful possibilities.
After a November storm hit Southeast Alaska with heavy winds and rain, the air cooled and snowed, and the weather finally cleared. I was hunkered down in a cabin with five friends in Pybus Bay, on Admiralty Island (pictured here), hunting deer, reading, and telling stories, unaware that one hour after our plane left Juneau en route to Pybus Bay (on 11/11/15), the announcement came out that my novel, Jimmy Bluefeather, had won the 2015 National Outdoor Book Award for literary fiction. It’s the first time that award has ever gone to a novel. I’m grateful, and happy to be back home. I didn’t get a deer, but my friends did, and they shared. These days I think a lot about where our food comes from, and should I eat meat. The deer moved through the muskeg and woods like athletes, like dancers. I think of their beauty every time I unwrap a package of venison. We might live by computers and iPhones, but like Old Keb Wisting, my lead character in Jimmy Bluefeather, we’re all descended from hunters. We’re all just trying to find our way.
Weather and geography like this – a misty day in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park, a world of tidewater glaciers, brown bears and humpback whales – inspired me to write my novel, JIMMY BLUEFEATHER. Twelve years in the making, the novel was released to strong acclaim (starred reviews in Kirkus and Library Journal) on September 1, 2015 by Alaska Northwest Books. I’ll be on a book tour from Juneau (9/28/15) to Missoula (11/4/15) hitting many cities and towns in the Pacific Northwest: Spokane 9/30, Bellingham 10/6, Bainbridge Island 10/8, Seattle (Ravenna Third Place Books) 10/10, Olympia (private reading at Maria Ruth’s house) 10/11, Portland (Annie Bloom’s) 10/13, Corvallis (Grassroots Books) 10/14, Sisters and Redmond (Paulina Springs Bookstores) 10/23-24, and Missoula (Fact & Fiction) 11/4. I hope to see you along the way.
Ferns with raindrops in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, at 17 million acres, the largest of 156 national forests in the U.S.
Hank Lentfer and his daughter Linnea play paddycake on a beach near the mouth of the Salmon River during a February sunset in Gustavus, Alaska.
After sailing to Antarctica for 20 years (1993-2013) and seeing midnight ice like this, I decided to stay home and concentrate on writing books and keep my carbon footprint a little lower. I still don’t ride my bike as often as I should, but I enjoy a quieter life and having to deal with fewer airports and crowds between Alaska and Antarctica. Many of my friends still go to the deep south and I enjoy hearing their stories. Others friends are wanting to go. I don’t blame them. Antarctica is the ice age; it’s Alaska 20,000 years ago.