Environmental Activists Forming Fairbanks Chapter of Climate Change Organization

Fairbanks-area environmental activists say they’re building on the momentum they generated two weeks ago during the local observance of the global People’s Climate March. They’re forming a local chapter of the national organization to help reduce the impact of climate change.

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Andrew McDonnell says there’s a reason that he and about 75 others turned out for the Sept. 21 People’s Climate Marchhere in Fairbanks, along with hundreds of thousands of others worldwide. That is, Alaska is among the places that will be most affected by climate change.

Participants gather in Griffin Park downtown at the start of the Sept. 21 march. (Credit Kristin Timm)
Participants gather in Griffin Park downtown at the start of the Sept. 21 march. (Credit Kristin Timm)

“It’s very important to have one here in Alaska” he said, “because we’re very exposed to the problem of climate change and the dangers that it is imposing on us.”

Another marcher, Kristin Timm, says despite the fact that Alaska’s economy is based on extraction of oil, the state’s future economic health depends on diversifying away from dependence on such climate-changing fossil fuels.

“As an Alaskan and somebody who wants to stay in Alaska, I really want to see Alaska prosper,” Timm said. “I want to see our economy be vibrant. I want to see our livelihood be protected from the changes that climate change will give us here in Alaska.”

Timm says even though Fairbanks is far away from the huge marches that were held around the world, she linked-up with others by live-tweeting the local observance.

“I can only hope that people from other marches around the world were seeing what we were doing in Fairbanks and realizing that even our relatively small community has something to say and contribute about this bigger discussion,” she said.

McDonnell says he and Timm and other local organizers are determined to keep that discussion going – and then to follow those words with action.
“Being out there and waving our signs – it’s good, but it doesn’t really solve the problem,” he said. “So that’s why we’re looking into other solutions and really making a sustained effort to address the climate change problem.” McDonnell says that sustained effort will take many forms, but it’ll be based on grassroots organizing and action. And it’ll begin with formation of local chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby, which will be the third in the state and among more than 150 worldwide. Timm says the chapters will lobby lawmakers in their states to enact legislation to establish a revenue-neutral carbon tax, one that won’t end up costing consumers more but that will help move the United States away from dependence on fossil fuels.