Let’s Leave the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Unspoiled


Media by Mason Kellerman

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is home to and sustains an abundance of life including land mammals, marine mammals and indigenous peoples. Denying the environmental importance, the current administration has begun the leasing process for oil drilling in the ANWR, placing a burden on the life residing there. It’s time to start the fight to protect one of the last unspoiled areas of the world.

The CNN headline “Trump’s ruinous parting shot at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge” induced my tears of panic, frustration and disgust. As I read each word, my heart dropped thinking of the hundreds of wildlife and indigenous peoples affected by this outrageous, last-minute act by the Trump Administration to lease the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is the epitome of diversity, home to 36 fish species, 36 land mammals, 9 marine mammals and more than 160 types of birds. The ANWR also sustains the indigenous peoples of the Gwich’in and Iñupiat who rely on the area for food and lifestyle, according to Protect the Arctic. 

Oil drilling in the ANWR puts the wildlife, plants and people at unnecessary risk of oil spillage, carbon emission and an overall disruption to the way of life. 

The environmental implications are undeniable, yet the federal administration continues to favor the economy and the highest bidder at the expense of voiceless animals. This blatant disrespect for the environment has been a continuous cycle throughout the term. 

The current administration has taken detrimental decisions such as allowing for seismic airgun blasts for drilling and conducting the Endangered Species Act to add “more weight” on “economic considerations.”

Selling the remaining 5 percent of land within the ANWR is another mere detrimental and last-ditch effort before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20. 

Not only does this act in the ANWR place a burden on life residing in the area, it also acts as a piece to the greater puzzle of climate change. Carbon emissions are inevitable as the drilling discharges carbon from the soil, contributing to global warming. 

The drilling plan also demands seismic testing on the east side. The east side houses wildlife and in specific polar bears, who are in the middle of denning season.

Stop the oil drilling. I am tired of the greed and continuous need for more as the environment and its creatures are put at even more risk.

Climate change is real, and it is happening. Denying this fact makes it even harder for us to combat the aftermath of acts such as oil drilling in the ANWR.

Now is not the time to stay silent. Signing petitions and educating yourself about the implications of drilling in one of the last unspoiled areas of the world will voice concern to our representatives.

The highest bidder should not be favored at the expense of the well-being of wildlife and indigenous peoples. Let’s save the abundant and luscious Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before it’s too late.