What is Going On?
Over the last few years, the state of the Arctic has fallen into deeper peril, with numerous species facing much danger. As of January 6th, the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, home to land and marine animals, hundreds of bird species, and fish, is up for sale. In December, a lease sale was announced from the White House, selling off the Arctic Refuge for oil and gas. The agreement to sell the land has breached many rights, such as ignoring the indigenous Gwich’in people who live on the land, being responsible for rapid declines of caribou and polar bears, and being an addition to climate change. Thawing permafrost brings along a domino effect of detriment, including deforestation and destroying food chains. These agreements of threatening and destroying this land break the very definition of a refuge, a place that provides shelter and protection.
(Polar bear in search of food)
Who is it Affecting?
The already declining state of the Arctic proves to be hazardous for the millions of species that inhabit it. The lives of many are at stake, with malnutrition running rampant among a number of species around the world. “The problem is that an ever-warmer future means polar bears will have less and less access to their seal prey, so…bears die from malnutrition/starvation…regardless of the proximate cause of this bear’s condition, this heart-wrenching footage provides us with a warning about the future,” Dr. Steven Amstrup, PBI’s chief scientist, details about the picture shown above. The featured polar bear, located on Baffin Island is a grim reality for the species across the world. The population of the Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear, native to the refuge, has dropped by 40 percent in recent decades. With the disturbance of the Refuge, a vital sanction of protection will be stripped from the suffering species. Devastation of numerous lives is inevitable with the introduction to Donald Trump’s plan, including the theorized 1 in 5 bears that it will put at risk.
(Thinning sea ice on Arctic shores)
What Actions are Being Made?
The NRDC, Natural Resources Defense Council, Protectthearctic.org, and other sights have made petitions and letters for people to send,m requesting against the selling of the Arctic. As of December 29, 2020, 5 millions letters have been sent in protest. It is hoped, though not guaranteed that the letters will be able to stop further damage at the moment. However, there are other ways to help halt climate change in the Arctic though, with climate change accelerating two times faster than anywhere else, it is a need for urgent action.
Protectthearctic.com. Environmental Importance of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, www.protectthearctic.org/environmental-importance-of-the-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge.
March 22, 2019 Clara Chaisson. “A Journey Through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” NRDC, 2 Oct. 2019, www.nrdc.org/stories/journey-through-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge.
“Trump Administration Pushes Forward With Plan for Illegal Lease Sale in the Arctic Refuge.” Sierra Club, 3 Dec. 2020, www.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2020/12/trump-administration-pushes-forward-plan-for-illegal-lease-sale-arctic-refuge.