Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Top 6 reasons to leave the Arctic alone!

Along with global warming comes the melting of the polar ice cap. Nothing talks more than hard figures: Over 40% of the ice cap has melted away in 30 years!

As the Arctic sea opens up,we humans begin to pay a lot of attention to this once peaceful part of the world, leading to new issues and challenges. Below are some of the top reasons why we should leave this part of the world as it is: untouched.

  1. Less ice = Great reduction of the inhabitat of many wild endangered or soon-to-be endangered species including Polar Bears, Harp Seals, Northern Fur Seals, Walruses and many more.
  2. Interest in the North Pole raises tensions between countries in redefining borders: Norway vs. Russia vs. USA vs. Canada vs etc.
  3. Expansion of commercial fishing areas. After overfishing in all seas, wouldn't it be great to create an arctic marine park? (by this I mean a "human-free" environment).
  4. New commercial routes between Asia and Europe/USA, opening the area to thousands of ships per year. As we know, an increased traffic would lead to increased pollution and disturbance to local animals.
  5. Lastly, new gas and oil drillings! 22% of global oil reserves are located in the Arctic according to the USGS. With all surrounding countries claiming as much territorial area as possible, there is no doubt that a race to discover and extract gas/oil has begun.
  6. With oil spills ruining our world every few year, imagine what we would do if a major oil spill occurs in the Arctic just as it happened with DeepSea Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico? In such remote location difficult weather conditions, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to stop a leak and clean up the mess. Imagine the oil spills travelling under the ice...

Arctic route map by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Arctic oil rig photograph by Richard Olsenius/NGS
Polar ice cap graph
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