Juneau students and residents, led by members of the Yees Ku Oo Dance Group, march to Centennial Hall during a “Stand Strong for Climate” rally on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds is holding four days of meetings at Centennial Hall. The rally was organized by 350 Juneau, a local chapter of an international climate advocacy movement, 350.org. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau students and residents, led by members of the Yees Ku Oo Dance Group, march to Centennial Hall during a “Stand Strong for Climate” rally on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds is holding four days of meetings at Centennial Hall. The rally was organized by 350 Juneau, a local chapter of an international climate advocacy movement, 350.org. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

‘Not another penny for dirty energy’: Juneau climate ‘warriors’ urge state fund to stop investing in fossil fuels

Environmental protesters march to big, annual meeting

For Juneau-Douglas High School Yadaa.at Kalé junior Linnea Lentfer, the potentially disastrous effects of climate change aren’t a distant abstraction. They’re a clear and present danger.

Rising and warming oceans will be a major problem by 2100 if climate change trends continue at their current pace, according to NASA. The impact of a climate crisis at the turn of the next century factored heavily into a speech Lentfer delivered Tuesday at the Alaska State Capitol during the Stand Strong for Climate Rally.

“I would be 97,” Lentfer said into the mic. “If I have children, they would be middle-aged. They will grow up in an age where the climate crisis is what governs their lives. Their very ability to live hinges on the decisions we make today.”

‘Not another penny for dirty energy’: Juneau climate ‘warriors’ urge state fund to stop investing in fossil fuels

Lentfer was one of six people to speak at the rally, which intentionally coincided with the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds annual meeting taking place this week at Centennial Hall. The rally concluded with a downhill march to the venue and a short demonstration in a courtyard outside the building.

Dozens of other Juneau students participated in the rally by holding signs welcoming international representatives to the capital city and urging them to divest from fossil fuels. The event featured plenty of participation from adults, too.

It was organized by local environmental nonprofit 350 Juneau, and speakers included Alaska State Writer Laureate Ernestine Saankalaxt’ Hayes, University of Alaska Southeast professor David Noon, 350 Juneau co-chair Elaine Schroeder, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council indigenous engagement lead Heather Evoy and Inian Island Institute Executive Director Zach Brown.

[Empire Live: Climate change rally aims for international audience]

Each speaker voiced heavy support for everyone, including the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, to stop investing in fossil fuels.

Brown said climate change’s impacts are already evident, and its relationship to burning fossil fuels is no mystery. He called for all investors — the APFC, pension funds and others — to steer clear of fossil fuels.

Zach Brown speaks during a “Stand Strong for Climate” rally in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The rally included a march to Centennial Hall where the annual meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds is taking place. The rally was organized by 350 Juneau, a local chapter of an international climate advocacy movement, 350.org. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Zach Brown speaks during a “Stand Strong for Climate” rally in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The rally included a march to Centennial Hall where the annual meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds is taking place. The rally was organized by 350 Juneau, a local chapter of an international climate advocacy movement, 350.org. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

He pointed to a sign in the crowd held by a young girl that read “Not another penny for dirty energy.”

“Hold up that sign,” Brown said. “That’s what I’m talking about right there.”

Juneau residents attend a “Stand Strong for Climate” rally in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The rally included a march to Centennial Hall where the annual meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds is taking place. The rally was organized by 350 Juneau, a local chapter of an international climate advocacy movement, 350.org. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau residents attend a “Stand Strong for Climate” rally in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The rally included a march to Centennial Hall where the annual meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds is taking place. The rally was organized by 350 Juneau, a local chapter of an international climate advocacy movement, 350.org. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Hayes too called for divestment and said the protesters gathered valued nature’s personhood and would not let forces of corruption, colonialism, end-stage capitalism, patriarchy, racism or inequity persevere.

“We are determined to resist,” Hayes said.

She concluded her speech by repeating “divest,” and the crowd joined in.

Noon argued for divestment by drawing historical parallels between removing money from fossil fuels to times nations opted to divest from slave-produced works or economic sanctions placed on apartheid-era South Africa.

“Those movements for abolition, for divestment from South Africa’s caste system, took decades to bear fruit and a lot of that fruit remained bitter and strange for years to come,” Noon said. “We can take some comfort in knowing those movements did prevail. We don’t have the time they had to do what we need to do, so we need to act now.”

[Cruise line buys downtown waterfront property]

After the speeches, dance group Yees Ku Oo led protesters to Centennial Hall where youths and 350 Juneau co-chair Elaine Schroeder greeted foreign representatives through a bullhorn. None of the visitors were outside of Centennial Hall during the rally and none emerged to investigate the sounds.

However, Schroeder thanked them for being in Alaska just the same.

“Thank you for coming all the way to Juneau, so we can show off our beautiful environment,” Schroeder said.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


More in News

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a Glance for Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

Numbers come from reports from the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency… Continue reading

This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. A commission tasked with reviewing legislative pay on Tuesday voted to raise the annual salary for Alaska lawmakers but to restrict the daily allowance lawmakers can receive. The changes will go forward unless the Legislature expressly rejects them. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
State lawmakers face proposed salary hike, allowance limits

A commission tasked with reviewing legislative pay on Tuesday voted to raise… Continue reading

Goldbelt Transportation and Allen Marine Tours will contract with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to provide ferry service through the Southeast for the remainder of the winter, according to a news release. (Courtesy photo / Goldbelt Transportation)
Goldbelt, Allen Marine pick up winter ferry contracts

Contracts were signed this January for several winter runs to Southeast communities.

Donated blood is prepared for storage and eventual transport at the Blood Bank of Alaska's Juneau location. There is a statewide shortage of donated blood. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
‘National blood crisis’ presents challenges in Alaska

Donation centers contend with COVID, weather and other disruptions as they work to stock hospitals.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This picture shows recent editions of the Juneau Empire. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)

Most Read