Letter: How you can thwart drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge | VailDaily.com

Letter: How you can thwart drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge

I’ve been following the particular issue of the Trump administration pushing for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, right before he leaves office. Many were relieved when a few months ago, five major U.S. banks refused to finance the proposed drilling “exploration” there.

However, Monday is the very day that the Bureau of Land Management begins accepting bids from oil companies as they auction off this natural, wild land that has been protected for decades upon decades in our Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, our “last great wilderness.” The Trump administration will hold a lease sale of the land on Jan. 6 to the highest bidders, completing the auctioning off of this designated critical habitat before Joe Biden officially assumes office. We’re in the face of a very real urgency to protect the wildlife (it is home to threatened polar bears under the Endangered Species Act) and the indigenous people who have lived here for thousands of years.

If you haven’t yet put eyes on this recent article written by American author, photographer and defender of our wild places, Kim Heacox, I hope you will. He has written beautiful books about America’s wilderness, and in this article he compels us to care and to take action: I wrote to Kim after reading this article, introducing myself and asking him for his insight on potential action points that individuals might take at this point. He graciously responded to me within the hour and with this to say:

“What to do at this point about the Arctic Refuge? Send money to Georgia, if you can, to help turn the U.S. Senate blue, or at least 50-50 blue-red, so Mitch McConnell can be rendered much less powerful, and VP Kamala Harris can make an avalanche of critical tie-breaking votes, one after another, for the next two years at least. And/or send money to Trustees for Alaska, the Alaska Wilderness League and the Natural Resources Defense Council. All are preparing litigation to protect the refuge. Finally, sit down and write the most heartfelt thing you ever have, a love letter to the Earth, and share it with whomever you can; perhaps get it published in a local or statewide or national press. Let the world know, or at least your friends and family know, how you felt as 2020 came to a close … something you can look back on many years from now and feel proud of.

I’m in the process of writing my “love letter to the Earth” as Kim calls it, and donating what I can. If you can make your voice heard in any way that resonates with you, please do. The destruction of such a sacred place and its natural beauty, wildlife and indigenous life as it has been for thousands of years, is not worth any amount of oil money. The irreparable harm to the Native people, wildlife, and climate will ripple out and will be felt by us all for years to come.

Emily Kent


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