Brooklyn Staab | Publicity Manager
January 10, 2021
The Trump Administration recently decided to auction off 30% of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge land for oil drilling. The operations in the region are only estimated to last about six months before the oil is depleted.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to hundreds of animals. Polar bears, caribou, wolves, and migratory birds all depend on this land for their survival. According to Protect the Arctic, polar bears will have a 20 percent chance of being harmed or harassed due to the new mining operations, which cuts into their natural habitat.
Climate change is drastically impacting areas globally, already causing melting in the Arctic. Due to human activity, the rate of climate change is only worsening. For example, oil mining has been proven to cause an increase in earthquakes because of the intense drilling into the earth’s crust—not to mention the greenhouse gases that would be added into our atmosphere by both obtaining and later using oil.
“Disrupting the Arctic in such a drastic way would be a major turning point in climate destabilization,” junior Charlotte Fuertes said. “The Arctic plays a key role in stabilizing ocean current patterns, which in turn affects climate around the world! Without the Arctic, the world would experience increased floods and intense storms! It is a preventable action that can not be undone once it starts.”
Oil prices are only going up because of its value as a non-renewable source. Once we use it all, it will take millennia for it to replenish naturally. So why do we keep using up earth’s natural resources? Oil companies wield large political and economic influence, especially in America. If America were to use greener energy, more countries that are still developing would follow its lead. However, this transition has not yet started, and the longer we wait, the worse it gets. “We cannot continue destroying ecosystems in exchange for non-renewable, damaging resources. It is destroying our planet,” senior Megan Moe said.
Politics play a huge role in almost everything we do. That’s exactly why public opinion matters in these situations. If politicians and corporations receive enough backlash for their choices, they often retreat and come up with another plan.
Public backlash on oil mining has already begun, spreading through different platforms of social media. Protect The Arctic created a pre-written letter for people to sign their names to in hopes of preserving this land. In fact, there were about 5 million letters written in hopes to save the Arctic from oil mining by January 6, 2020.
Barely anyone bid on the land because many banks decided they would not fund any drilling in the Arctic. Not many people are brave enough to go through the trouble of founding their own project and extreme public backlash for about six months of oil. Those who plan on drilling this land will predictably face immediate backlash and an immense amount of obstacles to actually complete their goal. Most major oil companies did not even show up to the bidding.
Hopefully, organizations like Protect the Arctic are able to ensure that this important and biodiverse land stays safe from human interference and any further damage.