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  • Monday, May 24, 2021
  • MicroFEWs Opinion Piece Featured in ADN

Food, water, and energy security are at the top of the list for remote Alaska communities. ACEP’s Erin Whitney, along with fellow MicroFEWs researchers Henry Huntington (Huntington Consulting) and Jennifer Schmidt (UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research) penned an opinion piece in the Anchorage Daily News.

"Food, energy and water are all necessities. Even without a pandemic, rural Alaska faces high food prices and often limited selection in stores, high energy costs and interruptions to water service or no running water at all. The systems for producing and distributing food, energy and water are interrelated but are usually managed separately. All of them are also affected by transportation, government policies, weather conditions and more. With all of this in mind, what can be done to improve food, energy and water security in rural Alaska?

Our project, carried out by researchers across the University of Alaska system and partners, considered the food-energy-water systems in several Alaska communities. Some of our findings were recently published in the journal Nature Sustainability. We looked specifically at the ways that renewable energy can contribute to food, energy and water security. Community leaders and residents, as well as operators of local utilities, graciously shared their stories and experiences with us. High prices can force families to make tough choices about what they can do without. Frozen food can be lost in a long power outage. Lack of water can increase risks from food-borne disease. These kinds of cross-system effects are often ignored in designing and managing infrastructure in rural communities.” 

Read the full opinion piece here https://www.adn.com/opinions/2021/05/19/improving-food-energy-and-water-security-in-rural-alaska/.

 

Wood and hanging fish on the shore of the Yukon River at Tanana. Photo by Amanda Byrd.