Blue Ocean Institute

F06

Issues:

Arctic Ocean Drilling

It seems incredible that drilling in the Arctic Ocean for petroleum is being considered given what we have seen from BP’s Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the Cosco Busan in San Francisco Bay, and the Exxon Valdez in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, to name but a sampling of modern petroleum industry debacles that have damaged the marine environment.

Place those realities next to no viable method to clean up an oil spill in the Arctic’s extreme conditions and limited information about the Arctic’s unique marine environment to begin with, and one might shout: Have people lost their senses?

Common sense may have become uncommon in the desire to make more money, and a desperate need to feed our collective addiction to fossil fuels.  Like most addictions, the user will do almost anything to get more.

There is no doubt that we still need petroleum but we can wean ourselves from it.  Strong support of clean alternatives and renewables, and green lifestyle changes are a good start.  So is drawing a line in the sand somewhere, in this case, a line in the ice.  There may be some tough choices to be made, but to not make these choices, to not move toward a clean energy future, is a defeat, a victory for the addiction.

Exxon Mobil in Russia is already eying the Arctic marine wilderness and US President Obama may sell leases that will allow petroleum companies to drill there.  This despite one campaign in 2012 where 400,000 people, 573 scientists, and 60 members of US Congress said they opposed drilling in the Arctic.

The potential damage to the environment and human health aside, drilling in the Arctic is old thinking.  It is not innovation or a technological evolution.  Like something stuck deep in the cortex of our early brains holding us hostage, it is still extracting and burning, extracting and burning.

For no drill to puncture the Arctic would be a symbolic turning point.  No Arctic drilling might even send a message of hope to ourselves — that we can change and improve, that we can find a better way.

The good news it is not too late.  You can make a difference.  It starts with support of healthy oceans and clean energy, and informed, responsible action around Arctic Ocean drilling.

3 things you can do right now to support the new energy future:

1. Tell people about clean energy’s potential
2. Support clean energy as a business
3. Demand innovation and cleaner air

Other great ways you can make a difference.

 

LINKS & VIDEOS

Russia Gives Exxon Access to Arctic, New York Times
Campaign Against Arctic Drilling, Audubon Alaska

Why Arctic Ocean Drilling is a Risky Choice, The Ecologist

To Drill or Not to Drill, CNN

Arctic Ocean, Wikipedia

Protecting Life in the Arctic, Pew Environment