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The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is Being Threatened

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The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is Being Threatened By: Laura Gintz The world is filled with many natural wonders. One of these marvels is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. Its 19.6 million acres are some of the last truly undisturbed wilderness. The area has been called the crown jewel of America's refuge system. This wildlife sanctuary, composed of a far-reaching stretch of tundra studded with marshes and lagoons and intertwined with rivers spectacularly situated between the rugged foothills of the Brooks Range and the broad, ice-cold waters of the Beaufort Sea, is awe-inspiring. However, the oil companies do not seem to see the beauty of this pristine place, only the possible profit in it. The oil industry would like to drill in the biological heart of the refuge - the Coastal Plain. This 25 mile wide area between the Arctic Ocean and the jagged peaks of the Brooks Range is vital to the continued existence of many organisms. ...read more.


Just as the Porcupine caribou herd depends on the Arctic Refuge to survive, the Gwich'in depend on the caribou for their survival. They use the caribou as food, clothing, shoes, shelters, medicines, blankets, sleds, tools, and more. They also tell caribou stories and sing caribou songs and dance caribou dances. Lorrain Netro, a native Gwich'in, stated the following: My home is in Old Crow near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. My people talk about the sacred places within our nation, like the refuge, and our need to protect these sacred places because our spiritual connection between the land, the animals, and our people. In this day and age, it's difficult sometimes for others to understand how this can still be, and yet it's so much a part of us that we can't see it any other way (Indigenous Environmental Network 2001). Thus, the land and the caribou are the foundation of the Gwich'in culture and life. Like too many other Native American cultures, the long-established life of the Gwich'in may soon exist only as a memory. ...read more.


energy problems. The United States Geological Survey scientists estimate that there is likely only enough oil under ANWR to supply America's energy needs for six months. Plus, the oil companies have said that the oil would not be available for use for at least ten years. There is also no guarantee that oil from the refuge would ever reach American consumers because Alaska's congressional delegates want to resume selling Alaskan oil to China, Korea, Japan, and other foreign countries. So, the drilling would only harm America and not help America. Overall, the drilling would cause a lot of damage. A pristine wilderness would be turned into a noisy, polluted, developed area. Millions of species of animals would be harmed. They would no longer be able to use the Coastal Plain to feed, mate, nest, and hunt. They would be forced onto marginal lands, and their numbers would be negatively affected. The Gwich'in's 20,000-year-old culture would be destroyed. And, the drilling could cause many environmental problems, including global warming and smog and acid rain. Plus, the drilling wouldn't even solve the energy problems in the U.S. So, drilling in ANWR should be prevented! ...read more.

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