In the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming, coal company Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy. In March, it was Cloudpeak. Before that it was Arch, Westmoreland, and Peabody. Companies may restructure and continue, but there is no doubt that the coal industry is in free-fall decline. In Alaska, one day our oil and gas workers and support industry will find themselves in a similar situation.
Scientists say we have 12 years to make almost unimaginable changes. If we don’t, the pressures we have set in motion become more uncontrollable. The term “unprecedented” will become common when discussing the weather, economics, food supplies or mass global migration.
That kind of straight talk motivated 1.5 million youth to come out on March 15 to demand climate action — the same day that CloudPeak was filing a dismal annual report that led shortly thereafter to their bankruptcy filing.
Sitting on my deck enjoying 80-degree weather hardly seems like an emergency. But there is no doubt we are in great danger. Danger that strikes suddenly, randomly, retreats, but returns relentlessly: floods that eliminated a planting season, a wildfire that left an entire town homeless, 15,000 people dead from a heat wave in France.
On Sept. 20, when the youth march again, I’ll be supporting them. Join me. Until then, send Rep. Don Young a note to support HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (think of it as a second Permanent Fund dividend, on a national scale), and let’s keep in mind transitioning our neighbors that have kept this state going with our oil wealth, before they wake up to find their company filing for bankruptcy.
— Kendra Zamzow
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