Wildlife protection activists and organizations are pleading with the Trump administration recently as the threat to polar bears becomes more severe. Trump is following through with allowing oil and gas deposit companies to risk disrupting polar bears and their habitat if they get in the way of drilling.
This plan by Donald Trump in his last moments of presidency was wickedly conceived as a final push for oil development in the arctic region. The Fish and Wildlife Service experts said that only a few bears are expected to be disturbed through the oil operations however since the polar bear population is already vulnerable and decreasing, this is a great risk. Polar bears are a threatened species because of the swift warming of the Arctic, and these expeditions would not help in reversing that problem.
Wildlife isn’t the only thing being threatened by these seismic operations, several Arctic scientists and environmental specialists in Alaska are worried that the machinery and equipment that is used to speed up the drilling process can also disturb the tundra and thaw permafrost at a high rate.
For certain native groups such as the Gwich’in in Alaska, this matter is more personal. In 1988, they formed The Gwich’in Steering Committee which opposes drilling in the National Wildlife Refuge, and to help protect wildlife in the area including caribou, which they hold most dear. A former caribou biologist Ken Whitten stated that drilling was sure to displace wildlife left and right: “It’s the core of the Porcupine caribou herd calving area. It’s the major onshore denning place for polar bears in the Beaufort Sea, which is becoming more and more important as the sea ice disappears.” The refuge is a piece of land between mountains, and a coast which gives the animals not many options if they are forced to leave and relocate due to drilling.
Drilling in the bear’s home was originally old news; it had been banned in ANWR for decades however Republican-led tax legislation was signed by Trump in 2017 which removed that ban. His goal to collect oil, gas and coal production can benefit drilling and mining industries, yet also cause an environmental and climate crisis in the north. Luckily, President-elect Joe Biden, seeks to oppose these efforts put into place by Trump, and will reverse any projects to drill in ANWR.
Recently, this threat has been brought to the attention of celebrities, influencers and public figures. Many are vowing to help protect Alaska’s wildlife by signing popular petitions being circulated and bringing light to the situation. Take action with the links below:
The Guardian: ‘Trump auctions Arctic refuge to oil drillers in last strike against US wilderness’
CTV News: ‘Trump admin seeks to allow polar bear disturbance for oil in Alaska refuge’
Author: Samara O’Gorman
Samara O’Gorman is a Montreal based actress, writer, journalist and mental health advocate. Samara has a demonstrated history in journalism and creative writing, yet her true passion lies within acting on stage & in film. With a Professional Theatre degree, she is skilled in acting, singing, dancing, broadcasting, and public speaking. She is heavily involved with her Ireland ancestry, currently studying Irish Studies at Concordia University and being awarded the 2019 Queen of the Hudson Saint-Patrick's Day Parade. She is hoping to travel to a rural community in Ireland after a year of studying the Irish language. Once there, she will be studying Irish spoken-word, theatre, literature; and then exploring how their dialect shapes those forms of art in the area. Samara is also the founder of Your Local Samaritan which teaches others the importance of being kind and also highlights other those who are charitable and give back to their community. At Youth in Politics, her articles focus on arts & culture.