NEWS: Celebrate Earth Day Saturday Across Alaska

Lawmakers Concerned About Potential Rollback of Environmental Protections

April 21, 2017

Juneau – Alaskans are encouraged to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday by working to safeguard achievements in protecting the natural environment of Alaska. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and events are planned for communities across the state, including HomerFairbanks,PalmerAnchorageJuneauDillinghamSeward, and Ketchikan.

“In these turbulent times it’s more important than ever to look beyond ourselves and focus on the health of our environment, which is under threat from pollution, over-development, and global climate change,” said House Resources Committee Co-chair Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage). “Earth Day is a yearly reminder that environmental change is occurring in Alaska and impacting things like the timing of salmon runs, the migration patterns of caribou, and the strength and frequency of severe weather.”

In conjunction with the celebration of Earth Day, scientists, researchers, and teachers from across the country will hold the March for Science Saturday in Washington D.C. on the National Mall. Similar rallies will be held in several Alaska communities.

“In the last 40 years we have made great strides to protect the environment but we must remain vigilant. I’m worried that the administration of President Trump is downplaying environmental concerns by halting all federal climate change research, trying to roll back environmental protections, and working to silence federal employees from even discussing the issue of climate change,” said Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage). “As a scientist I support those taking action tomorrow at the March for Science events across the nation, highlighting the importance of science based policy and calling for action on climate change, environmental health, and more. Thousands of Alaskans will do the same on Saturday. I hope you will join them.”

The symptoms of climate change are readily apparent across Alaska. The Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the planet, leading to thawing permafrost and thinning sea ice. Coastal communities across Alaska are experiencing increased rates of erosion and many of Alaska’s iconic glaciers are receding at an alarming rate.

“The science is clear that climate change is real but Alaskans don’t need a scientist to tell them that, all they need to do is open their eyes and go outside and look around,” said House Resources Committee Vice-chair Rep. Dean Westlake (D-Kiana). “Saturday is Earth Day, but we should use every day to work to protect the Alaska environment. We must understand and prepare for the coming changes from climate change to our commercial fisheries, our subsistence resources, and the entire economy.”

The March for Science in Juneau is scheduled to begin Saturday at 9:00 a.m. with a rally on the steps of the Alaska State Capitol. The March for Science in Anchorage will be held at 10:00 a.m. on the Delany Park Strip.

For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.


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