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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 2
Transcript of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 2
Largest protected wilderness within the federal wildlife system
Has hightest amount of biodiversity within the circumpolar arctic What is so significant about it in recent times? The coastline of ANWR contains AN ESTIMATE of eight billion barrels of recoverable oil. This would most likely supply the U.S. with less than a years worth of oil. Contains three major physiographic zones: tundra, boreal forest, and the Brooks Mountain Range.
Varies greatly in microclimate and soil properties which leads to diverse habitates for plants and wildlife.
Many different types of wildlife call the land of this area home such as dall sheep, wolves, grizzly and polar bears, moose, eagles, falcons, and caribou.
Many different marine species call the coastline home such as seals and walrus.
Low sulfur "lighter-sweeter" oil
In comparison to the "crude, heavy" oil from the Prudhow Bay area to the West
High demand for this oil because if it was mixed with the heavier oil from the West in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline then the overall sulfur content would go down which makes oil easier to refine
Only small details to the larger fact that we are thirsty for any oil we can get our hands on...
Especially within the United States (National Security) What is so special about this oil? Climate Change! Even before oil drilling is thought about, it is significant to note that the area is already seeing signs of climate change.
With oil drilling on top of the effects already taking place with a warming climate, there could be significant damage to the arctic ecosystem.
Ironic how our use of oil is inducing climate change and at the same time, the drilling for oil is also damaging many ecosystems. However, with just the idea of oil drilling at hand... It is not certain where exactly the oil is located, therefore, exploration would scar the landscape
Many buildings, roads, and pipelines would have to be constructed in order to actually drill, house employees, and transport oil
Water sources are at risk of contamination and depletion
Air at risk of extra pollution
Etc... All animals in area at risk for many things if oil drilling was to take place...
Example and emphasis on Caribou CARIBOU Loss of land for habitat (migration, calving)
Move from Brooks Range to Coastal Plain for calving
Loss of plants for nutrients Caribou significance to Native People The Gwich'in people are indigenous people who live in about fourteen villages just south of Brooks Range with one main village named Arctic Village which is directly outside of ANWR.
Gwich'in lifestyle including their subsistence, social structure, and spirituality centers upon the Porcupine River Caribou Herd.
They call themselves "People of the Caribou," and this connection stems as far back as thier creation stories which state they come from the caribou.
To many Gwich'in it is as though they are structurally coupled to the caribou. The Gwich'in have held onto many of their cultural values throughout attempts by others to change them.
Along with many other native cultures, the Gwich'in people tend to hold many similar ideas and values around how the universe fits together and how everything is interconnected.
Gwich'in see the prospect of oil drilling and global warming as a threat to their way of life. A CASE FOR THE WESTERN SLOPE OF ALASKA This area named the National Patroleum Reserve and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline connects it to the Southern coast of the state where oil is then shipped to the U.S. OIL SPILLS In the spring of 1989 Exxon Valdez caused the death and destruction of many forms of wildlife and plant life when eleven million gallons of oil spilled into the water of the Prince William Sound Port.
A single-hulled tanker hit an iceberg and soon the oil had spread hundreds of square miles, killing countless amounts of marine and coastal wildlife. It seems that when the oil is found in it's natural locations and form it is quite harmless and tends to simply be a part of the natural landscape. Wildlife is most likely accustomed to it being where it is and therefor the ecosystem stays naturally in balance without the wildlife being harmed by the oil. However, when extracted by human hands and transferred to other areas for other uses, it is in danger of being released on areas which are unable to live within oil. Reserves were formed three-hundred and sixty million years ago when algea and plankton sank to the bottom of a warm and shallow sea between the continents of Arctica and Laurentia.
One hundred and fifty million years ago, Arctica fell below the Beaufort Sea and the collision of continents created heat which transformed the single celled plant creatures into kerogen.
This kerogen has since transformed into shale and eventually dissolved into liquid and gas hydrocarbons. Many other degradations to the land, animals, and people of the Western coastal Plain of Alaska HOW WOULD THIS LOOK IN ANWR? http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5010526 Many of the risks are the same for ANWR as they were for the Western slope.
Instead of having one section left without the scaring of oil drilling, the entire Alaskan coastal plain would be degraded.
The connection that the Gwich'in people share with their environment and the caribou would potentially be lost. Indiginous Culture Control By going forth with the proposed oil drilling in ANWR, the U.S. would seemingly be once again repeating and reinforcing the past of conquer and control of Native Americans.
Many of these groups have lived in harmony with their environments instead of "on top" of them.
Loosing one more of these cultures with ideas of Native science and interconnectivity of all things is a loss to the entire Gaian system. Wilderness and Resource Depletion "It is particularly ironic, as we attempt to assess impacts of proposed oil development on caribou, that these efforts are confounded by the changing climate in the Arctic; a change attributed to the world's accelerating consumption of oil"
-Dave Klein 2001 If we continue to dry up the natural resources of the world and use them to create greenhouse gasses and destroy our remaining wilderness areas, we are on one hand creating human induced climate change, and on the other hand directly hurting ecosystems as we do it. This seems like a loose loose situation. In destroying the caribou in one area, there are probably a multitude of other things which would have to change or die off because of the lack of caribou. And because these organisms or animals disapear, a mulitude of other things are effected, and so on and so forth. Bottom line being this echos out until not simply ANWR, or even Alaska as a whole is being effected by the loss of the caribou; but the entire Gaian system is being impacted. SOLUTIONS and IDEAS Can't go back, but must move forward... It is not possible to simply go back to a time when more interconnectivity was recognized or we lived much simpler.
We must find a way to utilize the knowledg and goods we have on this planet today.
We must change the worldview of many in order to slow consumption and other lifestyle choices which utilize the natural resources of this planet and ultimately creates climate change.
We also cannot bring back the indiginous cultures which have disapeared so we must recognize this and realize what knowledge we may be loosing by lossing these cultures. Bifurcation point Education It seems clear that we are coming to a bifurcation point in regards to a warming planet and mass extinction. We choose to continue to live the way we do and use up all of our resources and potentiall destroy even our own human species or we choose to evolve a different direction.
We must live more in tune with the rhythms of nature and notice the interbeing of all things.
We must feel the pain of other humans, creatures, and plants and recognize a need for change. Consumer Society Somehow, our consumer society will have to loosen its grip on humanity and a shift in worldview must take place.
Many of our lifestyle choices contribute a large part to the use of oil and in order for us to slow down the use of oil, we must slow down our use of goods. CREATIVITY A change in habit away from being an oil driven country will take a lot of work and a lot of creative thinking.
Many people have recognized the problem; whether they choose to face it or not is another question. Our lives in the U.S. are set up so nicely for us to simply stay in the habits we have. However, if we were given other options, we may choose to take them.
Creativity is starting to make its way through the cracks in our systems, yet it could always help if they system was s bit more open to allowing creative minds to express themselves. A young mind tends to be much more easily molded then as one gets older. Community socialization and our traditional school system seems to be what molds childrens minds to the all too common habits we see within our society today, such as consumerism.
If the education system was to do a make-over and bring in more ideas of interconnectedness and compassion it would probably bring a very positive outcome. At first, this shift would definitly bring in some CHAOS, but it would be well worth it. Native Science "The New Science" is starting to surface in some education systems.
However, these theories and ideas seem to have been around for generations and generations within many Native American communities wisdom.
It seems very essential to revitalize or preserve these in the indiginous communities and help them surface within the entire society of the U.S.
Given the right information, we can evolve our worldview to living in a way which is in relationship with nature and not controlling nature.
Many indigenous cultures such as the Gwich'in, have this information to give.
Instead of trying to control Gwich'in lifestyles we should try to connect with them and feed off of some of their knowledge as a living community.
Trying to evolve together instead of controlling or destroying eachother will create a much healthier planet for our children to enjoy.