The Beaufort Sea in the western Arctic stretches across the northern coasts of the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Alaska. It’s home to abundant wildlife including fish like Arctic char, birds like the king eider, marine mammals like beluga and bowhead whales, and predators like the polar bear. Today, as it has for thousands of years, the Beaufort Sea supports the livelihoods and culture of the Inupiat, Inuvialuit and Gwich’in peoples.
As the Earth’s temperature increases, the swing seen in the polar regions is twice as great as the planetary average. The sea ice has retreated to the point where ships are now able to navigate in open water through the Northwest Passage. Ice, which reflects the sun’s energy back into space, may be completely gone over the North Pole within a decade, amplifying the warming of the planet. In addition, the thawing of the Arctic permafrost is a ticking bomb. Releasing an avalanche of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, the decomposing plant material would push the atmosphere past critical tipping points and lead to the extinction of most, if not all, life on Earth.
That is what the science tells us. However, the current administration, which prides itself on blind ignorance and greed, is eyeing oil and gas leasing and development off the coast of Alaska. Add your voice to the tens of thousands who know we must take a stand here and now. Follow this link to the comment page.
Six decades after the construction of the first wave of nuclear power plants, no country has opened a permanent storage site. Spent nuclear fuel and other contaminated material — deadly byproducts of electricity generation — remain stockpiled in temporary locations around the United States and the world, often alongside the reactors where they were used. That may be the case for the foreseeable future. A citizen’s group is petitioning the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to develop regulations suitable for safely storing the waste above ground, given the lack of underground disposal. The group is suggesting a thousand year design life goal. A responsible approach like this is, of course, the last thing on the mind of the nuclear industry. They have always figured to leave taxpayers on the hook for disposing of the mess. You can be certain that if the cost of keeping the environment protected for a millennium was factored in, electricity generated by nuclear plants would be rather expensive. If you want to support this petition, additional information and an opportunity to comment can be found here.
Everything we do makes a difference, though at times it seems our efforts are to little effect. We must hold accountable those who would destroy what is priceless for short term gain. Stay strong. Speak out.