Think of the world beyond the CBJ

According to today’s Empire news story on climate change, CBJ Mayor Koelsch has recently stated that he doesn’t want Juneau to get involved in national political issues. I hope the Mayor will clarify what he means in the context of the Assembly’s next discussion of a Climate Change resolution. If the Mayor was not misquoted, and if he said anything like that, it reminds me of Charles Lindbergh and the isolationists in the late 1930s. Lindbergh used his international fame (after flying alone from New York to Paris in 1927) to advocate for the idea that the USA should not get involved in foreign wars of the kind ramping up under Lindberg’s friend at the time, the Chancellor of Germany.


Had FDR listened to Lindbergh instead of Winston Churchill we might now be required to speak some form of a Japanese-German combo language. From the market price of salmon; to the mine permitting processes on the headwaters of the Taku, Stikine and Unuk rivers in British Columbia; to moving the capital; there is almost no issue of importance to the people of Juneau that does not have its roots beyond the boundaries of the CBJ.

The 1.5-mile retreat of the Mendenhall Glacier since statehood — with all the associated destruction of private property that has come, or will come with its’ shrinkage — is reason enough for me to be concerned. I want to see the CBJ making a clear statement, with other Mayors and Governors across the U.S., about the importance of dealing with climate change as the critical global and local issue that it clearly is. If the phrase “Paris Accord,” or “global warming” is too scary to put in the title of any resolution of the CBJ, then use some other phrase.

It is not the label that is important. It is the issue of rapid climate change itself that I want my elected officials to acknowledge, and I want them to pledge to work collaboratively with others toward solutions that will be effective for Juneau … the place where I live and work and pay my taxes.

Jerry Smetzer,



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