Photo: Steven Kazlowski / www.lefteyepro.com
Right now, Shell Oil's drill ships are on their way to America's Arctic Ocean. Shell hopes to begin drilling in our Arctic waters in a matter of weeks with no viable plan to clean up an oil spill in the Arctic's extreme conditions, which range from sea ice up to 25-feet thick and sub-zero temperatures to months of darkness and hurricane-force storms.
There is still time to stop this disaster from happening. President Barack Obama has yet to grant Shell's final drilling permits. Alaska Wilderness League and many other organizations are gearing up an unprecedented campaign to get the message to President Obama that he must stop Shell now. This Saturday, join a nationwide Polar Bear Uprising to show the president that our nation's most beloved bears will not be ignored.
Across the country, people will be gathering, dressed in white wearing polar bear masks, to do the polar bear dance and demand that President Obama turn Shell's ships around. The hope is to set a world record for the largest "polar bear uprising" ever, and put Shell on ice!
As the Arctic continues to warm due to climate change, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear by mid-century. Rapid sea ice loss from climate change is the polar bear's biggest threat. However, if an oil spill were to happen in the Arctic's Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, polar bears would suffer huge impacts, as would many other species that depend on the Arctic – bowhead whales, beluga whales, ice seals, walrus, millions of birds and much more.
In addition, the Inupiat people who have thrived off the bounty of Arctic waters for thousands of years could see the loss of their livelihood and their culture. Caroline Cannon, an Inupiat leader and outspoken advocate for the people of America's Arctic coast, was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize last week in acknowledgement of her ongoing efforts to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic.
"Right now as I speak, my Inupiat people up in Point Hope are out hunting for whales. And Shell's drilling ships are on their way to launch the most aggressive drilling plans ever in the Arctic Ocean," Caroline said in her acceptance speech. "When I met President Obama a couple of years ago, he told me he knew what it was like to be treated as a second-class citizen. He made a promise to work with the Inupiat people and protect our way of life. That gave me hope. Now is the time to hold him to that promise. I need everyone here today to remind him what's at stake. I need you to stand with me to honor my father's wishes as he stood on the ice for the last time. I need you to stand with me to remind him that we all have a responsibility to protect America's Arctic."
Help Caroline ensure that President Obama gets the message loud and clear by joining the largest Polar Bear Uprising in history on Saturday. Find an uprising near you here, or learn how you can host one. If you can't make it on Saturday, please sign this petition to President Obama – and demand that he put Shell on ice.