By Abigail Steffen, Alaska Climate Change Policy Advocate Intern
SCS interns Carly Dennis and Abigail Steffen joined other young Alaskans aged 16-25 in Fairbanks this past month for the Conference of Young Alaskans. This event, hosted by the Alaska Municipal League, allowed for the delegates to discuss concerns about Alaska’s current reality with regards to climate change, unsustainable economies, and injustice. These topics were the inspiration for the final 20 resolutions presented to the Alaskan Conferences of Mayors.
Over the course of three days, the delegates came together around issues of equity, decolonization, climate change, development, and education. Included in these were the following resolutions:
- Ensure quality, culturally-competent, and trauma-informed Alaska Native history education for all students
- Encourage sustainable economic development and climate-conscious investments
- Create a department of climate in municipal bodies
- Facilitate access to safe housing and health care
- Encourage a standardized preliminary training and education for all law enforcement and service providers
The issues discussed are heavy, but there has been little to no action surrounding many of them in Alaska. These resolutions were developed with careful thought and care in efforts to address the uncertainty that Alaska faces. As young Alaskans, we will be responsible for addressing many of these realities in our lifetime. This conference highlighted the significance of the Youth voice and how critical it is to be included in decision-making. As delegates, and representatives for Young Alaskans, we hope that these issues are discussed and addressed by our political representatives. Alaska’s future depends on it.