Guiding Principles

Keex Kwaan Dancers at Culture CampThe Sustainable Southeast Partnership is based on the assumption that the best environmental stewards come from communities that are strongly connected to place and empowered to adopt their own solutions for cultural, environmental and economic prosperity, sustainability and resilience.

The challenges faced in sustainably balancing ecological, economic and social values are highly complex and particularly challenging in rural Southeast Alaska. By necessity, our approach must be innovative and experimental, but at the same time, it must also adhere to principles that keep us on the tracks of ecological and social responsibility. For example:

  • We recognize that human well-being and environmental integrity are interdependent aspects of a resilient biosphere.
  • The ‘Tongass as a Salmon Forest’, the ‘Tongass as a Native Place’ and ‘Going Local!’ are themes that can serve as effective catalysts of community engagement and transformation in Southeast.
  • Combining social, ecological and economic measures into a ‘Triple Bottom Line’ accounting system is essential to identifying program targets, enhancing synergy and measuring success.
  • The adaptive capacity of our region’s communities depends upon the engagement of a broad-range of empowered citizens, a commitment to avoid letting the perfect get in the way of good and a willingness to do the work of turning “failures” into successful learning opportunities.
  • Trust, reciprocity, respect and other forms of social capital are as critical to sustainable community development as the natural resources they rely upon.
  • Working together we can achieve much more than we can on our own. Our program is founded on the assumption that each community has something to teach the others in our region, and that, the native cultures of Southeast Alaska have a uniquely valuable perspective to offer on the importance of connecting people and place in creating prosperous and resilient communities.

The diverse nature this work requires a diverse range of organizations working together and guided by a common set of principles. Click here to learn more about the Framework we are developing to support such a collaboration.