Carl Johnson’s new book, Where Water is Gold, combines breathtaking photography of Alaskan wilderness and waters with eloquent essays about the ecosystems, wildlife habitat, sustainable fisheries, and people in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, all of which are currently endangered by the proposed Pebble Copper Mine. Carl will speak and show his photos at the Suquamish Museum on Saturday, April 1 from 3 – 5 pm.
The Bristol Bay region is home to the nation’s largest and wildest state park, a world-famous wildlife sanctuary, and Alaska’s largest lake. It is also home to the largest salmon fishery in the world, supplying the world with 50%-60% of its demand for sockeye salmon. The salmon – and also cod, halibut, herring, and smaller fish – sustain the ecosystem, feeding bears, birds, and all manner of wildlife. The fishing industry – fishing, canning, seafood companies, and related services – supports thousands of local native people and those committed to showing up each year when the salmon season is in full throttle. All this happens in the pristine, pure waters of Bristol Bay, which is now threatened by the proposed Pebble copper mine in the headwaters that feed Bristol Bay.
In his book and in his Suquamish Museum presentation, award-winning landscape photographer Carl Johnson will celebrate how Bristol Bay’s water and salmon connect us all, globally. Carl’s beautiful photographs and eloquent essays combine to present a heart-rending picture of the potential devastation that the proposed Pebble Copper Mine poses to this beautiful unspoiled region, and serve as a moving call to action.
The final essay in the book describes the impact the proposed Pebble mine could have on this exceptionally rich and vulnerable ecosystem, reminding us that “acid mine drainage can render the water 1,000 times more acidic than battery acid.” Once unearthed, he adds, “mine tailings never become safe again…tailings are forever.”
And now we have to ask ourselves: Is the risk of permanently contaminating these waters worth the financial profit in mining the copper?
Credits: BCB host: Channie Peters; BCB audio editor and social media publisher, Diane Walker.