Greetings EPIC community!
My name is Luis Neuner, and I am the new Decarbonize the North Coast Advocate. Ridiculously cool title, huh?
Growing up on the Klamath River, my summers were nearly always defined by the burning sensation of running over hot river rocks barefooted, the near-immediate gratification of jumping into cool springs, and the unending cornucopia of the sweet but oh-so-prickly blackberries. However, as I grew older, these unforgettable summers became defined by the dearth of water and the constant looming fear of high-intensity wildfires. All these indicators served as a stark reminder of the brute historical legacy of natural resource exploitation, mismanagement, and overall colonization. As a preadolescent tribal member and a participant in the Pikyavish World Renewal Ceremonies (“pikyav” loosely translates to “fix”), I remember thinking: “Geez, we sure got a lot of fixing to do.”
My interest in climate advocacy continued to spark throughout high school. After a sufficient trial and error period at the College of the Redwoods, I became intensely focused on the impacts of political decisions on public policy, economics, and natural resource governance. While obtaining my Associate’s degree, I was honored to intern with my tribe in the Self-Governance Department. There I spent almost two years experiencing the inner functions of inter-departmental hierarchies, government-to-government relations, and, most importantly, the inherent conflict between traditional resource management practices and federally relevant statutes and laws.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, to finish my B.A. in Political Science. During my stint there, I was lucky enough to intern with The Brookings Institute—a D.C.- based think tank. While much of my focus was on good governance and ethics on a federal and national level, I once again found myself most interested and engaged in natural resource governance. On a personal level, I was also ready to come back home. That’s because nothing, in my very unbiased opinion, matches the rich and raw beauty of the North Coast.
We know that the climate is warming due to past transgressions, and unfortunately, we are also beginning to see the effects (e.g., exacerbated storms, floods, drier conditions, etc.). As EPIC’s newest advocate, I look forward to working on numerous challenges in pursuit of a net-zero carbon economy here at home. While the road ahead is undoubtedly daunting, I am excited and inspired to learn from the fantastic team at EPIC, the brilliant advocates already leading the way outside the organization, and the truly epic community at large.
I look forward to meeting you all. If you're interested in our decarbonization-related work, whether that be developments on offshore winds or how you can help implement Climate Action Plans, don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com! Also, stay tuned for upcoming events/news!
Thank you all for your incredible support!