How We Work
How We Work
Our key tools are to empower Arctic Native communities to participate with environmental groups on their many issues of mutual concern; to create or strengthen strong, diverse coalitions; to use the traditional environmental activism tools of community outreach, advocacy, litigation, and media outreach; and to use international leverage points when appropriate.
Empowering Arctic Communities
Our partnerships with Native communities ensure that our conservation work is infused with their interests and concerns. No better example is our early focus on offshore oil drilling and the threats from increased ship traffic, both of which were issues of particular concerns to Native partners that were not, at first, receiving priority attention from most conservation groups.
Our work with Arctic communities is multi-faceted and includes extensive networking and network coordinating activities; multi-day educational workshops; exchange events between Russian and U.S. activist leaders and officials; technical support (e.g., circulating sample comment letters); funding travel stipends to allow direct participation by Native leaders in important meetings; and raising the profile of emergent leaders.
Pressuring International Institutions
We also have an unusual expertise in the international arena, both in governing institutions such as the United Nations and in finance institutions such as banks and government agencies. We have deployed this expertise to put pressure on banks—which are far more sensitive to public pressure than coal and oil companies—to withdraw or condition their financing of harmful fossil fuel projects. And we have used our international policy expertise to insert strong environmental and human protections into Arctic protection measures.
We are at a moment of high leverage, warranting urgent action. The gold rush to open and exploit Arctic shipping lanes, drill for oil and gas resources, and pull out and export coal and oil is only just beginning. Nations, indigenous communities, environmental advocates are calling for rules and regulations to govern industrial activity in the Arctic and to halt the worst activities entirely, and we are on the frontlines in many of these important battles for the future of the Arctic.
Together with our Native partners and NGO allies, we work to:
• Stop oil and gas drilling in Arctic waters
• Stop industrial build-up in the Arctic to transport coal, oil, and gas from Alaska and Russia to China, India, and other industrial centers via new and expanded ports, railways, roads, and pipelines
• Secure stringent regulation of ship traffic to reduce black carbon-producing diesel emissions, prevent oil spill disasters, and protect marine mammals
• Designate national parks and marine protected areas to permanently protect wildlife and community traditions
• Reduce black carbon emissions into and in the Arctic