50th Birthday Present for ANWR: Make it a National Monument

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Alaska

Many good things (or even great things) are under threat with the upcoming transition in Congress. One such thing is likely to be the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). But Alaska conservationists aren’t just sitting back and waiting to see what will get thrown at them. “Instead, they are initiating a preemptive play to protect the grand prize for the Sarah Palin/Big Oil crowd,” Jess Leber of Change.org writes. Here’s a little more on the plan for protecting ANWR more indefinitely on its 50th birthday.

Jake Calvitti has worked with the Alaska Wilderness League since he was ten and has already taken three trips to Washington to lobby against drilling for oil in ANWR. Now a high school freshman, he spent 2 weeks this summer on a fellowship in Alaska learning about the recovery since the Exxon Valdez spill. “The Arctic refuge already faces the challenges from global warming, which are effecting migration patterns of the wildlife. With the threat of industrialization, things will just get worse,” Calvitti told a local New Jersey paper earlier this year.

In marking the 50th anniversary, the Alaska Wilderness League wants more Americans to show their support by building and flying their own Arctic kites in a symbolic migration of the millions of birds that are born in the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain and make their way across all 50 states and six continents before returning back to the Arctic to news.

By doing so, participants will be joining the League’s push to get President Obama to declare the refuge a National Monument in honor of its Big 5-0, a move that would protect the refuge from drilling pushers in Congress and hopefully lead the way to an official wilderness designation through legislation. The League says that more than 60 percent of Americans support the idea of better protections.

Read more on Change.org: A 50th Birthday Present for ANWR? No More Drill Baby Drill

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Photo Credit: ANWR by reurinkjan via flickr (CC license)

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