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Can A College Freshman Force State Action On Climate Change?

By | October 1, 2013

Nelson Kanuk at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in December 2012. Now a college freshman at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kanuk is studying criminal justice. (Photo by Ed Ronco/ KCAW)

Nelson Kanuk at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in December 2012. Now a college freshman at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kanuk is studying criminal justice. (Photo by Ed Ronco/ KCAW)

In Barrow at the top of the world, receding sea ice is reshaping life. University of Alaska Fairbanks freshman Nelson Kanuk thinks the state is obligated to combat atmospheric climate change. He argues the atmosphere is a public trust to be preserved for future generations, like clean water or navigable waterways.

Kanuk sued the state last year when he was a senior at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka. The lower court dismissed the case, but on Thursday the Alaska Supreme Court is taking it up on appeal. The court will hear oral arguments in Kanuk v. the Alaska Department of Natural Resources at Barrow High School.

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