The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world -- an astounding 5℃ in the past 100 years. This extreme warming pattern has dangerous consequences for many people in Alaska, including risky travel across melting ice and tundra, and severe coastal erosion that is forcing whole communities to relocate. Indigenous populations are especially vulnerable, since their culture, identity, language, traditional foods, and ways of life all rely heavily on Alaska’s land and waters. As warming proceeds, indigenous communities also must contend with growing in-migration and the expansion of the cash economy that comes from increased industrial and commercial activity. The Climate Justice Resilience Fund (CJRF) seeks to help indigenous communities strengthen their climate resilience by building leadership and decision-making capacity; maintaining, updating and augmenting traditional knowledge; and establishing political advocacy processes. We believe that – in Alaska and elsewhere – the best climate solutions will emerge “bottom-up” from communities, and that respect for human rights should underpin all resilience-building efforts.
As part of CJRF’s grantmaking on climate resilience in Alaska, we have identified communications capacity building as a priority for investment. Consistent and effective communications are a key component to any successful leadership, advocacy, or knowledge-sharing effort, but for climate change advocates, communicating effectively often presents challenges. Many audiences see climate change often as an abstract and distant problem for the future, without day-to-day implications for their lives. The issue also carries both scientific and political “baggage” that complicates messaging and can be a turn-off for some audiences. Moreover, climate solutions – especially adaptation solutions – can be complex and counter-intuitive for those not familiar with how climate change can impact food, water, livelihoods, and infrastructure.
Alaskan advocates have important opportunities – and urgent needs – around climate communications, since the issue is not abstract or distant in the state. With this call for letters of inquiry, CJRF seeks innovative ideas for building climate change communications capacity within Alaska’s non-profit sector. We aim to empower communities by strengthening the ability of non-profit organizations to effectively and strategically communicate about climate change adaptation to a diversity of audiences. We believe that strong climate change communications – about both problems and solution sets – is an essential ingredient for effective adaptation action at community, state, and national levels. Focus will be onAlaska Native organizations and those working on climate adaptation/resilience activities with indigenous communities. Potential outcomes of this call could include (but are not limited to):
- New organizational strengths in communications, with specific attention to strategy and messaging around climate resilience and adaptation
- A cohort of young indigenous leaders with strong communications skills and clear narratives around social justice approaches to adaptation and resilience
- New, more effective climate resilience communications strategies, narratives, or tactics shared among advocacy networks and alliances
- Improved communications systems for knowledge exchange among communities actively grappling with the impacts of climate change
Applicants may propose activities up to three years in length, with budgets between $100,000 and $400,000. Letters are welcome from individual organizations; CJRF is also interested in supporting collaborative efforts among multiple organizations.
Interested groups should submit a letter of inquiry (LOI) to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 pm Alaska time on Thursday April 26. Letters may not exceed three pages. They should summarize the proposed project's objectives, intended outcomes, budget, partners, and any co-funding. Successful applicants will be invited to make a full proposal for a June deadline. This call for communications LOIs is separate from CJRF’s main April 13 call for Arctic LOIs. Submission of a letter to one call for proposals will not disqualify an organization from submitting for the other call.
Please see information about the CJRF and its strategy at www.cjrfund.org. Please note that CJRF aims to fill a funding niche on the adaptation side of climate justice, so we do not support work focused on greenhouse gas emissions reduction.