Alaskan Youth can make a difference
Alaska Youth for Environmental Action will help youth make their voices heard in Juneau at the 2023 AYEA Conservation and Civic Education Summit.
Young adults are often left out of decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Corporation CEOs, Governors, United States Senators, and people in power making money from big oil avoid facing youth who bear the burden of climate change and climate anxiety. In Alaska, where the arctic is warming at double the global average and communities face more extreme impacts of climate change, this issue is particularly prevalent. Alaska’s teens deserve the tools, the network, and the hope to leverage their power against these giants and create a bright future for themselves and their communities.
This fall, 12 young Alaskans from communities around the state gathered in Anchorage to do just that. At the 2022 Youth Organizer Summit, Youth Organizers chose and began to plan their statewide project to protect & increase Alaskans’ access to local food through action and education. The issue of food insecurity and access is a significant challenge facing communities across Alaska. Throughout the pandemic and as climate change impacts worsen, the challenges surrounding food access and Alaska’s supply chain have become increasingly evident and extreme. According to a recent draft report by the Alaska Food Security and Independence Task Force, around 95% of Alaska’s food is imported, making our food systems and distribution vulnerable to supply chain disruptions and breakdowns. The same report found that about 1 in every 8 Alaskans struggles with hunger and food access, with higher rates in rural communities. Youth Organizers hope to make a difference for their local communities and Alaska through action and education.
In the upcoming year, Alaska Youth for Environmental Action Youth Organizers will build their chapters across the state. These chapters and Youth Organizers will raise awareness around the issue of food insecurity and access by bringing attention to food costs and access in rural Alaska. They will uplift the stories of those most impacted, learn and teach about traditional foods and subsistence practices, provide hunter training, build greenhouses and community gardens, and advocate for increased food access and security to their elected officials. Youth Organizers are looking for peers and adult mentors who care about climate and food security to join and choose to prioritize local food.
As our oceans rise, our climate becomes more extreme, and our food systems destabilize, our leaders continue to invest in false solutions. It’s time our leaders prioritize youth. It’s time they hear the facts and face our truth. It’s time to organize. Alaska Youth for Environmental Action will be helping young people make their voices heard in Juneau at the 2023 AYEA Civics & Conservation Summit. The Civics & Conservation Summit is a unique opportunity for Alaskan teens to travel to Juneau, learn more about the Alaska State Legislature, connect to their representatives, and impact the passage of bills. The summit breaks down barriers between delegates and the Alaska State Legislature. By focusing on specific bills within the current Alaska State Legislative session, delegates will gain communication, advocacy, and civic participation skills. The summit culminates with constituent meetings between delegates and their legislators - where they can advocate for the bills and topics they care about!
It took a lot of engineering and brainpower to build our pipeline and structure the state around it. We can use the same engineering, brainpower, and creativity to reduce and eliminate our pollutants while ensuring our neighborhoods have nutritious, local, low-waste foods. Youth can join AYEA as youth organizers for their community, and adults can nominate teens to join the summit by visiting ayea.org or emailing email@example.com!
Marlowe Scully is the Program Coordinator for Alaska Youth for Environmental Action. They live on Dena’ina lands in Anchorage with their partner, two dogs, and two cats. Marlowe started as a youth organizer and finds great joy in helping young Alaskans make a change in their communities!