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Judi Lynn

(161,314 posts)
Thu Mar 31, 2016, 04:07 AM Mar 2016

A Black Environmental Group Joins Native Alaskans in Calling for Protections of the Arctic Refuge

A Black Environmental Group Joins Native Alaskans in Calling for Protections of the Arctic Refuge

Your Take: Outdoor Afro has joined forces with Alaska’s Gwich’in people to call for protection of this oil-rich wilderness as a human rights issue.

By: Rue Mapp and Princess Daazhraii Johnson
Posted: March 31 2016 3:00 AM

[font size=1]
This undated photo shows the highly disputed Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, which sits atop plentiful oil reserves the
state of Alaska is anxious to drill. In January the Obama administration declared 12.8 million acres of the refuge to be protected
wilderness land, which prevents any drilling.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Getty Images

What does a woman who grew up in Oakland, Calif.—the heart of an urban center—have in common with a woman with roots in the remote outskirts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska? More than you think.

We are two determined women of color—united by our belief that human rights and social justice are inextricably linked to saving our shared planet.

When we met on an expedition to the Arctic to explore the impacts of climate change, we talked about what drives us and about our dedication to justice and sustainability. We shared stories about the dangers that climate change poses to communities of color like ours—communities that are at the crosshairs of the worst that climate change threatens to bring, including health issues and food insecurity. We shared our concern for local communities in places like New Orleans that experience flooding, and in northern Alaska, where the ice under Alaska Native communities is melting so quickly that entire villages are being forced to relocate. And we mourned the lives already lost to the destructive nature of climate change.

Then we made a commitment to work together to protect one place in particular: the Arctic Refuge.

Located in the northeast corner of Alaska, the Arctic Refuge is unique, majestic, irreplaceable and one of the last remaining intact ecosystems in the Arctic. It is a national treasure, like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, and it is the lifeblood of Alaska Native communities and animals. Protecting the refuge is about protecting what we hold in common—our connection to the land and animals and to each other.


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