Alaska’s Arctic: Ecosystems at the Top of the World
The Arctic is a vast and remote tapestry of rich terrestrial and marine ecosystems. To some it's an icy wilderness that serves as essential habitat for whales, caribou, polar bears, walrus, seabirds, and fish. To others it's a home that provides nourishment and cultural identity for communities that have subsisted for millennia on the Arctic's bounty.
To resource extraction companies, however, it's a source of profits -- virgin territory wide open for development. America's addiction to oil is the driving force behind record profits and unprecedented proposals to open previously off-limit swaths of the Arctic. Despite the ecological damage that both this development and climate change will wreak, little is being done to protect this dynamic region.
How We Work
In Alaska, Pacific Environment continues to work with partners in the Alaska Native, fishing, environmental and scientific communities to safeguard important areas-including habitat for bowhead whales, polar bears, walrus, seals, seabirds, and fish. By strengthening coalitions, attending community meetings, testifying to government officials and garnering public support, we're working to keep Big Oil out of America's Arctic. We're also working with the Arctic Council and International Maritime Organization to address the multitude of impacts that need to be taken into account as Arctic shipping increases. Click here to learn more about shipping impacts.
Why We Are Effective
In Alaska, we work with partners in the Alaska Native, fishing, environmental and scientific communities to confront threats to our last frontier. Together, we're safeguarding critical habitat, including Alaska's Arctic Ocean, which provides key habitat for bowhead whales, polar bears and walrus.
Together, we have:
- Spearheaded campaigns to protect Indigenous communities, bowhead whales and polar bears from the negative impacts of offshore oil drilling;
- Brought the voices of Alaska's Indigenous communities to Washington D.C. , the Arctic Council and the International Maritime Organization.
- Blocked exploratory drilling proposed by Shell Oil in the Beaufort Sea;
- Mitigated impacts from seismic testing and drilling, protecting whales and communities. We've successfully advocated for some of the most stringent mitigation measures ever applied to seismic testing;
- Partnered with the Native Village of Point Hope and other environmental organizations to successfully challenge the 2007-12 Five Year Plan for offshore oil drilling;
- Contributed to the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, adopted by the eight Arctic nations in Spring 2009, to advocate for strong measures to increase shipping safety in the Arctic;
- Educated communities about safe shipping in the Arctic and brought their concerns to the International Maritime Organization.