People across the world are contending with a swirl of climate anxiety. Across our state, we navigate the trauma of lost economies, crops no longer growing abundantly, salmon not making it to our communities, and, most recently, storms becoming more destructive than we have seen in 100 years. Our people are hurting, and our youth have taken on a considerable weight to fight for a future within all of this. In a study published in the Lancet, students from ten countries reported 59% of youth experiencing extreme worry while 84% experienced moderate worry about climate change. Our youth in Alaska is no exception.
Even though the anxiety is justified, when it gets to the level that it freezes us up, it becomes unhelpful and doesn't serve us or our goals. We must give options and build hope through action and policy to help us and the generations that will lead us move forward through these dark times.
Community advocacy is a medium with meaningful and immediate effects. We're not past the point of no return. Every effort we make today helps reduce the negative impacts of climate change we'll feel tomorrow.
Moving forward into next year's legislative session, we will have great opportunities to advocate for policy and funding that will support investments in renewable energy infrastructure and much more. We also can advocate for community-based solutions like getting our schools' foods sourced locally, reducing energy consumption in our public buildings, prioritizing plant spaces and community gardens in city neighborhoods, and defending the Indigenous stewardship of carbon sinks. Community-based solutions allow us to make a change that works with and for all Alaskans.
We're not experiencing climate change effects alone. And we will not create viable climate solutions alone. This network we are building with all of you will motivate the change we need to see.
We've got an opportunity to build that network now. Alaska Youth for Environmental Action will be part of the Global Youth Climate Strike on September 23 in Anchorage Town Square from 1:00-3:00 pm. Alaskan youth will strike in solidarity with young people across the world. It's our responsibility as adult allies to support their efforts and amplify their messages. The young people of Alaska deserve a just future, and it's time our leaders recognize this and prioritize #PeopleNotProfit.
We hope to see you there.
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