Youth call for city statement on climate change

Front, from left: Maya Russin, 16, and Mia Siebenmorgen, 14, lead an anti-climate-change march down First Street. (Sept. 20, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
Front, from left: Maya Russin, 16, and Mia Siebenmorgen, 14, lead an anti-climate-change march down First Street. (Sept. 20, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

The city of Cordova must explicitly confirm that it accepts the existence of human-caused climate change, say protesters.

Undeterred by stormy weather, a group of 35 protesters marched through town Sept. 20 to raise awareness of environmental issues. The march was part of “Global Climate Strike,” a campaign of demonstrations and school strikes ahead of the Sept. 23 United Nations Climate Summit.

Chanting slogans like, “Science, not silence,” and, “If you breathe air, you will care,” demonstrators traversed First Street and Second Street before descending to Cordova Harbor, ending their march at the Cordova Center. The march drew cheers and approving horn-honks from passing motorists.

From left: City Manager Alan Lanning and Vice Mayor Melina Meyer listen to a statement from climate change protesters. (Sept. 20, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
From left: City Manager Alan Lanning and Vice Mayor Melina Meyer listen to a statement from climate change protesters. (Sept. 20, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

At the Cordova Center, demonstrators were received by City Manager Alan Lanning and Vice Mayor Melina Meyer, where they were asked to submit statements for the next city council meeting packet. The only concrete request issued to the city was that an official statement be made confirming the existence of anthropogenic climate change.

Protester Lizzy Heidbrink, 12, said that the threat of climate change has become a source of daily anxiety. Along with friends, Heidbrink has made a hobby of picking up litter, and rarely misses an opportunity to remind others about the environmental problems with which her generation will have to contend.

“We are the sacrificed generation, basically,” Heidbrink said.

Although Meyer and Lanning made no specific guarantees to the protesters, they struck a receptive tone.

“I drove down the street and saw you guys all walking in the pouring-down rain … chanting away,” Meyer said. “It was really nice to see a bunch of our youth getting involved.”