ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Around 300 youth and adults came to Cuddy Park on a rainy Friday to demand action against climate change.
The strike was organized alongside hundreds of other events worldwide as well as events in Alaska in Fairbanks, Homer, the Mat-Su Valley, Utqiagvik, Cordova, Haines, Valdez, Soldotna, Brevig Mission, and Chevak according to organizers.
Onlookers watch music and speeches at the youth climate rally on Sept. 20, 2019 at Cuddy Park. Many students said that they had skipped school to attend the event.
Attendees sign letters to Gov. Dunleavy and Sen. Lisa Murkowski at the Alaska Youth for Environmental Action table.
Cassidy Austin, a highschooler from McCarthy who led the Anchorage climate strike, speaks to the crowd. She placed the march as part of a global movement, saying that 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg reached out to Anchorage's group before today's event.
Many attendees said that they were demanding that Gov. Dunleavy restore the Climate Action Leadership Team which Dunleavy disbanded earlier this year.
"They made a 40-page climate action plan to reduce our emissions and start our transition into clean energy, but that team was disbanded," said Emily Taylor, an organizer.
Matt Shuckerow, spokesman for Gov. Dunleavy said in an email that the administration disbanded the team after finding it "no longer relevant, had already fulfilled their intended purposes, were not aligned with the Governor’s policy directions, and/or appear to have been made primarily for political or public relations purposes."
Shuckerow acknowledged that "The impacts of climate change will continue to be part of the public discussion, and Alaska will strive to take action to mitigate those impacts for its people," but said that Dunleavy is more focused on economic goals.
"Governor Dunleavy’s focus continues to be on making Alaska ‘Open for Business’ with a vision for new investment and a commitment to bringing predictability back to Alaska’s thorough and science-based permitting process," he wrote.
Protesters hold signs at the youth climate rally.
Singer and guitarist Harrison Sturm entertains the crowd at the start of the youth climate strike. Girdwood singer Ava Earl also performed at the event.
"My goal is to get the attention of policy makers who have been postponing action or completely ignoring taking action against climate change," said Mimi Morgan, a junior at West High. "I was on Twitter this morning and I saw that the strike in Melbourne had like 10s of thousands of people, and the majority of them youth, and it's so empowering to be a youth and part of a super big international movement where we're organizing ourselves and showing that we know what we're doing and we're powerful."
Activists hold signs on the bridge at Cuddy Park.
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