Fifty-six days after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, with hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil continuing to spill into the Gulf of Mexico, more exploratory, off-shore drilling is still scheduled to commence July 1st in the Arctic.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Shell is scheduled to begin drilling in Alaska this July. The proposed drill sites are in areas noted for extreme storms, strong winds, moving sea ice, and subzero temperatures. These conditions would make it very difficult–if not impossible–for a successful response in the case of an oil spill.
Today has been really neat. We visited an old mining town that has been bulldozed over, and all that remains from it is tons of rubble, and one building remains standing. It was interesting to see such a place. We got to hear about the history of the town, as well as all the attempts to build lodges out there once the town no longer existed. Another thing that we got the opportunity to do today was digging for oil that remains from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The first beach we visited, we couldn’t find any because the tide was too high, but once we gave up and all got back on the boat, they called us back to shore to see the oil they had discovered. I didn’t bother putting on my rain pants, and hopped in the boat to head to shore. When we got there, what I saw changed the way I thought about the whole incident. Seeing the oil just below the surface rocks, and deep down below them, really makes it overwhelming how much destruction there was in this catastrophe. I always heard about the oil that still remains, but once you’re there digging in it, getting that thick, black, smelly substance all over everything it comes in contact with, it really is an eye opener. After today, I want to share what I’ve experienced and encourage people to protect their environment, and hopefully teach people how to take responsibility for their actions.
Photo credit: Alexandra von Wichman/Babkin Charters
Humpback Cove: Mary
Today was very outrageous. When I drove the skiff I had some experience driving and [it] helped me notice the wildlife. The waves that we made and the birds and fish we saw made me realize how beautiful Alaska is. The scenery is truly the best part. I am truly a city girl, so when I saw all of this beauty I just was surprised. We were in the skiff for two hours. I have had a wonderful time today and this Media Expedition is a life time experience. Go BOB (skiff).
Look for bloggers from the Alaska Explorers’ Expedition Series in the coming months. A partnership between Alaska Geographic and the Chugach National Forest, in collaboration with National Geographic, the Explorers’ Series offers an opportunity for young people in Southcentral Alaska to share compelling stories about the unique environments where they live. This June, a week-long pilot expedition to the Prince William Sound will chronicle the … Continue reading Guest Blogging Special: Alaska Explorers’ Expedition Series