There is a win-win solution to preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Neither native Alaskans nor American citizens need to sacrifice financial welfare for environmental conservation. By focusing our national energy strategy on the development of efficient technologies and alternative energy sources, American corporations will create abundant jobs and wealth without causing environmental degradation. For native peoples, reduced oil drilling in northern Alaska allows these cultures to regain control of their future and diversify their economy into sustainable economic activities.
Oil-based economies breed corruption, fluctuate based on global prices, cause massive gaps between rich and poor and create institutional resistance to innovative new energy technologies. Although select groups benefit financially from drilling in the short-term, the majority of America does not.
The opportunity to protect the homeland from oil dependency is ours, but there is work to be done. We need to prioritize better, faster, cheaper ways to reduce foreign oil dependence than drilling in the Refuge. Americans need to come together and help proponents of drilling (Alaskan oil industry workers and oil service companies) to transition toward more sustainable and profitable business models.
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton described the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a "vast, white nothingness." She was absolutely correct. The Refuge is a barren place as fog rolls in from the Beaufort Sea. If you get off the airplane, however, the prehistoric ways of the refuge come alive. The Refuge is what we dreamed about as children as we read books about buffalo migrations, the great explorers and dinosaurs.
The refuge is a national treasure, although most of us will never understand all it has to offer. Luckily, with intelligent economic development strategy, it can easily be preserved.
During the summer of 2005 the Treasure America Project went to the village
of Kaktovik, Alaska to analyze the economic consequences of oil industry dependence
and opportunities to promote increased local entrepreneurship.
Invitation for Citizens of Kaktovik.
Seminar Flyer [PDF].
Trip report [DOC].
Website for local guides.
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View our explanatory press release here.