September 21, 2015
On September 1 the atmosphere at the Anchorage Museum was electric as youth, Ambassadors and participants filled the auditorium enthusiastic to discuss the highlighted topic of the week: climate change. Alaska was buzzing that week as President Barack Obama embarked on his historic visit to the 49th state to address this global issue. In conjunction with the President’s visit and the U.S. Department of State’s GLACIER (Global Leadership in the Arctic” Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience) Conference, the Anchorage Museum co-hosted events and exhibitions providing cultural context to broaden awareness of critical issues the international community faces in the Arctic. Anchorage Museum Director and CEO Julie Decker states, “We can change the narrative about Anchorage from that of a frontier town to one of a pivotal, vibrant city poised to participate in global discussions about the future of the Arctic and its impact on the rest of the world.” In recent years climate change has been a spotlight for Arctic nations. Conversations no longer address the hypothetical problem but have now turned to how we can spread a message that speculations are no longer just that. The threat of climate change is real and occurring before our very eyes in Alaska and Arctic communities. But how to share what images people in the Arctic witness, to people far away? More importantly, how do we involve the young people of these regions who are seeing their futures at risk in spreading this message? Entering an age where digital media reigns, the Museum hosted “Picture the Arctic: Capturing the Story of Arctic Climate Change” and presented the powerful messengers we have in film, photography, video games and social media.
A challenge was posed focusing on how local and international experts can utilize and highlight youth leaders as messengers to share their perspectives on Arctic climate change. Ambassadors urged the young people present at the presentation to grab ahold of the opportunity to share what they are experiencing in their communities through pictures, posts, and tweets. Youth were urged to take a closer look at their changing Northern homes and share via social media to generate awareness and involve their peers in the conversation. Alaska’s newly formed Arctic Youth Ambassadors were also present in the audience; a group of five Alaskan youth who are pioneering the charge in increasing understanding and awareness of the rapidly changing Arctic environment, specifically in their Alaskan communities. Here’s how you or youth you know can get involved in this crucial discussion! Tag images or video on social media with #GLACIER #Youth to share what you are doing or seeing in your communities regarding climate change. Let’s increase awareness and empower youth to view, from their powerful and effective perspectives, the majestic world that is life in the Arctic.