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Endangered Arctic Animals Under Siege
With all the conservation acts in place to shelter arctic animals and their habitats, North America continues to allow lawfully protected endangered animals and critical habitats to be threatened by the oil industry. Politicians are granting permits for exploratory drilling, tar sands extraction, and unstable toxic tailing ponds without consideration of the consequences. Animals in the arctic that face immediate extinction as a result of fossil fuel extraction include the polar bear, arctic fox, arctic peregrine falcon, Eskimo curlew, Peary caribou, and wood bison. In addition to the ongoing jeopardy to legally protected endangered cetaceans such as beluga, orca, sei, narwhal, and bowhead whales that live their lives in arctic waters year round.
The survival of wildlife in the arctic region is imperative for maintaining a stable food chain and acts as nature's gauge towards planetary habitability. NASA scientists have been accurately mapping the CO2 emissions affect on the arctic since 1980. Dr. Joey Comisco, senior scientist at NASA's Goddard center, indicated in a report that the thickest parts of ice have melted at a rate exceeding 17 percent per decade.
NASA Climatologist James Hansen has mathematically explained how the decrease to the arctic ice mass is not a naturally occurring variable, as those who are indifferent to planetary stability argue. Dr. Hansen pointed out that in 2012 the earth should be in the part of its long-term orbit cycle where temperatures would normally be cooling, not getting warmer. If the high temperatures during the cooling cycle remain unresolved when the planet enters its warmer orbit cycle, animals will find atmospheric conditions intolerable and die off. He further explained that the human race surpassed their positive level of CO2 contribution. In the past 150 years humans have increased the stable level of CO2 emissions from 280 parts per million (PPM) to 393 PPM. It is projected that tar sands and tar shale extractions will increase that number to 643 PPM in the immediate future, which is unsustainable and well within animal extinction parameters, including humans.
Besides the tar sands threat, President Obama has given Shell the green light to send its drilling rig, Kulluk, to the Arctic's Beaufort and Chukchi Seas to start exploratory drilling in July 2012. This decision comes only months after Russia granted Exxon unrestrained drilling rights in arctic waters and Royal Dutch was approved to gut Norway for gas fields. It is a sobering thought that America, Russia, and Norway, contented to obliterate systematically the Arctic Circle, are also the countries entrusted to protect the animals and habitats of the Antarctic region.
While it is easy to blame the government machine for failing to protect animals, habitats, and the planet for the sake of perceived power and profit, it is the resigned defeat of the masses that actually allows this cancer to continue to grow. Greenpeace has 20 participants attempting to block several icebreaker ships in Finland from setting sail for arctic waters. The express purpose of the expedition is to break apart thick arctic ice masses to make way for Kulluk's exploratory digging. Twenty people - that's it.
More than 600 scientists have sent letters to governmental entities requesting that the hefty mounds of scientific data for the cessation of fossil fuel use be reviewed. Environmentalists are rushing to file injunctions to request legal reviews of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act. However, with all these efforts it is still an uphill battle to get governments to listen to reason.
There are people who do not want to make political waves in an effort to protect their livelihood and families. However, these are the exact reasons why each person should call and write government officials and actively protest the deliberate destruction of the arctic region. The common singularity that we all share throughout the world is the knowledge that we only have one inhabitable planet. People should be outraged that corporate and political greed is affecting the future welfare of their family's health and economic stability to such an extent that it affects our core needs for survival.
We find ourselves in a unique position in history as we all stand on the tipping point for hopeful tomorrows. What makes this destruction truly criminal is that we already have the resources and technology for long-term, cost effective, Earth friendly, renewable energy. Fossil fuel oil is no longer our only means. The oil industry should make way for positive change and find its place in our history books as a transitional energy resource that paved the way for evolved energy growth for countless future generations. Rather than put our future into a tailspin without hope of recovery.
If people would step back and look at the big picture, they would see that the trials of these arctic animals connect to human understanding on the most basic level of survival. In the past decade, humans have perished from contaminated drinking water, carcinogenic food supplies, droughts, and inclement weather only dreamed about in fiction novels.
In 2012, the animals of the arctic region are telling us all a grim story. Their inability to survive man's lack of humanity stands as a testament to our own outcome if we stay on a placated course. Water mammals will continue to drown in oil from spills. Those who survive will continue to feed on carcinogenic food resources, resulting in more deaths that are premature and suffer low to no live birth rates, whilst land mammals continue to die off from shrinking habitats and diminished food supplies.
Which world do you want for your family?
For those interested, sign the Preserve Arctic Animals and Their Habitats.
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