Read the article posted by Matthew Gilbert, a Gwich’in himself. (NRDC Action Fund Blog: Why is drilling the Arctic Refuge wrong?) Here’s an excerpt:
The fact that itâ€™s even a question whether we should drill in a pristine place like the refuge, the breeding grounds of Polar Bears, Porcupine Caribou Herd, and many bird species, is an ethical travesty of our time …
The Arctic Refuge should not only be protected for its natural value, but also for its value to the Gwichâ€™in. The Porcupine Caribou Herd calves in the Arctic Refuge and is very sensitive to humans. Establishing oil rigs, roads, drill pads, and other industrial additions will drive animals out, change their migration routes, and harm the land.
Gwichâ€™in who hunt the Porcupine Caribou Herd will be affected in more ways than one. We implement products of the Porcupine Caribou Herd in every area of our lives; warm skin clothes, ivory-tools, arrowheads, and traditional dresses. Gwichâ€™in are extremely efficient with every animal we kill; we use a dead animal in the utmost efficient way. So when we harvest even one caribou, it provides us with a host of things used to survive and flourish.
If the Gwichâ€™in lose the refuge they lose their identity. Without the caribou the Gwichâ€™in will have a harder time making ends meet or move into the cities. So it is not only environmental doom that industry would bring to the Gwichâ€™in Nation but also social doom. The refuge needs to be protected! Please join the Gwichâ€™in in our fight to protect a way of life older than all the monumental wonders of the world. Protect a critical relationship that the Gwichâ€™in have maintained with the caribou for nearly 20,000 years.
For thirty years and more, the American people have said “No” to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. How many times do we have to say “No”?
This choice will be a test of our national character. Will we choose a one-time short term energy “fix” at the cost of an irreplaceable natural wonder and a whole way of life? Or will we take a longer and saner and humbler point of view, recognizing that the value of this land rests not merely in what it can produce, but in what it is?
We need to keep the oil companies out of the Refuge for the sake of the Gwich’in, for the sake of the caribou … and for our own sake. For the sake of our own spiritual well-being we need to set limits on our gluttony, our greed, our hubris, and leave some things alone!