Keeping the Wilderness Wild

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the last true wild places left on the earth, and drilling for oil there would have disastrous consequences.

The ANWR protects many species but may soon be gone.

National Geographic

The ANWR protects many species but may soon be gone.

Kalyn McLeod, Columnist

Everyone in our modern world knows about the climate crisis. With rising temperatures and rising sea levels, it is one of humanity’s biggest threats. But it is an even bigger threat for arctic wildlife, with many having their homes and ecosystems destroyed. Luckily, a few places are left for wildlife to roam, one of which is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). But unfortunately this refuge might not be such a refuge soon.

In December of 2020, the Trump administration started to auction off drilling rights in the refuge as a final grab before the term ends, as explained by CNBC. This would allow big companies to demolish the land for profit, destroying one of the last beautiful and diverse wild places in North America. Due to pressure from the public, indigenous activists, and large companies, the ANWR is safe for now. But now greedy companies and politicians are starting to push back, and do everything in their power to get that land. So it’s important to remember why we need to protect this refuge.

The Wilderness Society explains that Arctic temperatures are increasing faster than anywhere else on the planet, and drilling would only fast track that. Moreover, all the construction, noise, and pollution that comes with oil drilling would greatly disturb the fragile ecosystem of the ANWR, that people have worked so hard to protect over the years. Species that are already endangered and are likely to go extinct even without drilling could be gone in a couple years if drilling begins, according to Scientific American. And, like every ecosystem, all species are dependent on each other. If just one species goes extinct, it could be the end of wildlife in the arctic. NRDC explains that polar bears, grey wolves, caribou, and musk oxen are just a few of the beautiful animals whose lives depend on the ANWR. 

Unfortunately, this will likely not be the only battle that will have to be fought. People are still going to come after the ANWR, and other land similar to it. But we can help to prevent their success. Organizations like NRDC and The Wilderness Society are making great strides, but they need the public’s help. Nationwide opposition is what is going to make change. So sign petitions (like this), protest, participate in fundraisers, and do everything in your power to help. Because one person is all it could take to save one of the greatest wild environments in the world.