Here’s the last of my series on the Arctic national Wildlife Refuge, for now. I’d like to write some more about the place, but will do that later. I wanted to post this because I read somewhere the other day that because the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not a pristine wilderness, we may as well go ahead and drill there. What so often is forgotten or neglected is that much of the disturbances to the pristine nature of the land here are a function os previous oil exploration. Out on the coastline, the tundra is littered with signs and debris of oil exploration. Whilst I was hiking one afternoon, I counted over 300 empty oil barrels lying on the tundra in one very small section of coastal plain. That didn’t include the bits and pieces of machinery and buildings and whatnot I found as well. It is amazing that anyone could leave behind such trash and debris here. It’s even more amazing that people who want to open the Refuge to drilling then make the argument that (a) they’ll do so with environmental sensitivity, and (b) the Refuge isn’t a pristine wilderness so they ought be allowed to drill there. Essentially, they’re arguing that because they’ve already disturbed the area, they may as well go full speed ahead and finish the job.
I guess to some people nothing matters beyond financial concerns. I do appreciate the import of money in our culture, and I do respect those who work hard to create it. But I find it hard to respect those who place its value above all else. To do so is, quite simply foolish.
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” — Cree proverb.