Our Climate! Our Future! Alaskans Demand Urgent Climate Action
For Immediate Release
September 1, 2015
Anchorage, Alaska - As President Obama met with world leaders in Anchorage, 300 people rallied outside to “confront the glacial pace of political action” and demand protection for Alaska’s communities, cultures, and livelihoods.
Rally organizers represented a broad coalition of Alaskan grassroots groups. They were united around four demands: 1. Rapid transition to renewable energy, 2. Protection of indigenous rights and communities, 3. No offshore drilling in the Arctic, and 4. Binding agreements at the 2015 U.N. Climate Conference, on par with the science.
These demands are outlined in detail at: www.ourclimateourfuture.com
Indigenous speakers and musicians at Monday’s rally highlighted the social justice dimension of climate change in Alaska. Failure to act on the above demands relegates several Alaskan villages to “sacrifice zones.” As Faith Gemmil of REDOIL explained, “Indigenous Peoples of Alaska have seen alarming impacts due to climate change. We had 300 wildfires burning simultaneously this summer, forcing whole Alaska Native communities to evacuate. Permanent, forced relocation looms over several towns due to coastal sea ice loss and erosion. Our food security - our very survival - is threatened as the bounty of our lands and waters is imperiled by climate change and fossil fuel extraction. We are in climate crisis.”
Rally participants were glad to see the President visiting Alaska to elevate climate change & the Arctic. “It’s a good start - and we need more,” said Danielle Redmond of Alaska Climate Action Network. “We need policy that is on par with the science for a just transition.”
“The GLACIER Conference rode in on the heels of federal approval for Shell’s offshore Arctic drilling program. Obama can’t claim to take climate change seriously while turning a blind eye to the unacceptably high risks and impacts from Arctic drilling,” said Ceal Smith, organizer with Chukchi Sea Watch. “He also can’t have a serious climate conference without discussing mitigation,” she said, referring to the GLACIER conference agenda which covered resilience and adaptation but failed to include measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“The good news is that Alaska has a wealth of renewable resources which could help both the climate crisis and the $3.5 Billion budget crisis we now face as a direct result of our state’s dependence on oil. It’s up to us - ordinary people - to create the political space for real change,” said Redmond.
Rallies were also held in Fairbanks and Bethel.
For more information, contact:
Kirby Spangler in Palmer, Alaska Rising Tide 907-795-2386
Faith Gemmil in Anchorage, REDOIL (907)750-0188 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Girard in Fairbanks, Northern Alaska Environmental Center email@example.com Danielle Redmond in Juneau, Alaska Climate Action Network firstname.lastname@example.org