What is it called when we bribe ourselves? Most agree bribery is, at least, unethical if not immoral.

Bribes usually work on people desperate or greedy. I’ll never accept that Alaskans are greedy but, with our economy supported largely by extracting natural resources, including oil and natural gas, at what point will we become so desperate we can be bribed out of our inherent respect for our natural environment? What risks will we come to accept to drill more wells off-shore, or allow chancy mining operations in and around our streams and rivers?

At this point I don’t trust my own wisdom or experience to firmly declare where I’d stand. Emotions are the culprit here. My fellow Alaskans need the economic opportunity and security our resources surely can provide. But can I trust outside developers to care as much as I do not to despoil my home in the process?

Unless we Alaskans, as a group, start a rational discussion toward a rational state policy while we have time to do so, we may, indeed, be pressured to a rushed, emotional definition of what it means to bribe ourselves.

Jack Hodnik