Alaskan youth take part in global climate action strike

Activists say millions around the world are taking part in a global climate strike Friday. And some young people in Alaska are joining in.

Alaska Youth for Environmental Action has teamed up with several other climate action advocacy groups and organized a climate strike at the Cuddy Family Midtown Park in Anchorage. The event comes ahead of the U.N.'s Climate Action Summit, which starts Monday. But those involved in the Anchorage strike are urging Gov. Mike Dunleavy to take action now.

"Our biggest ask of Dunleavy right now is to reinstate the Climate Action Leadership Team, which was disbanded shortly after he was put in to office," said Emily Taylor, a 15 year-old with AYEA.

She says she grew up spending summers at her grandmother's place in the Bristol Bay region. "I think growing up seeing the beautiful watershed of Bristol Bay has really led me to have a love for the environment."

Gov. Dunleavy effectively disbanded the climate change strategy task force through an administrative order in February. At the time, his press secretary said that some of the rescinded orders put in place by former Gov. Bill Walker appeared "to have been made primarily for political or public relations purposes."

On Oct. 9, the Alaska Supreme Court will hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by a group of young Alaskans against the state for its inaction on climate change.

Earlier this week Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, testified before the U.S. Senate's climate crisis task force, telling members they weren't trying hard enough.

"I think that her message really shows that so many youth are standing against this climate crisis and speaking their voices," said Cassidy Austin, a 17-year-old from McCarthy, who helped organize Friday's strike in Anchorage. "Because it's going to impact our generation more than any other generation."

The Anchorage strike includes the circulation of a petition to reinstate the Climate Action Leadership Team. Similar youth-led events were organized in Unalalakleet, Ketchikan, Dillingham and Bethel, among others, according to a release from The Alaska Center.

By Liz Raines and Dave Goldman

Originally Posted by KTVA on September 20, 2019 

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