The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge comprises 19 million acres of arctic
and subarctic lands in the northeast corner of Alaska, including the
only 5% of Alaska's North Slope that remains off-limits to oil
development. The Arctic Refuge supports and abundance of wildlife:
polar bears den on the arctic plains, musk oxen roam along glacial
rivers, wolves prowl the foothills, grizzly bears haunt the open tundra,
dall sheep scale the mountain tops, and moose range in the Taiga Forest.
Most notable of all is the 152,000-head Porcupine River caribou herd
that migrates hundred of miles from Canada's Yukon Territory to give
birth to its young every spring and then raise them over the summer.
** For 20,000 years the Gwich'in people of Northeast Alaska and
Northwest Canada have depended upon the Porcupine River Caribou Herd to
sustain their culture.
The herd is central to their basic way of life, providing food,
clothing, and a critical link to their traditional ways. The U.S.
Department of the Interior warns that oil drilling on the coastal plain
could jeopardize up to 40% of the Porcupine River Caribou Herd and drive
it away from the Gwich'in villages and native hunters, destroying their
sustainable mode of life. **
You all might have already heard the saying that "all politics is
local." -- (even if y'all haven't, I know that you recognize the power
in it) -- The reason why the Arctic Refuge has thus far remained free
from the clutches of big oil companies is principally due to the efforts
of the Alaska Coalition, a collection of hundreds of local, state, and
national organizations that endorse protection of the Arctic Refuge. By
joining the Alaska Coalition, you can send a vital message to your
congressional delegation that your members do not want to see this
irreplaceable wilderness sacrificed for what could be as little as
51-days worth of oil. Members of the Alaska Coalition include the
United Methodist Church, Garden Club of American, Food Works
(association of educators and students), and conservation groups such as
Sierra Club, National Audubon, and The Wilderness Society.
For more information regarding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or
about how to join the Alaska Coalition or what they are doing:
1. email Elizabeth Godfrey (Midwest Organizer of the Alaska Coalition)
2. write to her at:
2460 Fairmont Blvd
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
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