The Great White North Is In Danger

In Columns, World
The Great White North Is In Danger

If you have ever traveled to Alaska or the Territories in Canada, you would fall in love with it immediately. The majestic scenery and sapphire blue waters of rivers and lakes would amaze even the average person. The untouched forestry area, as well as mountains like no others, can be seen for miles. The wildlife roams free and can often be seen at any time of day. In winter months it gets so cold your breath turns to crystals as you exhale and often you do not want to leave your home except in an emergency or for work. Dressing in layers upon layers, those who live there will often tell you they would take the cold winters just to live in such a beautiful untouched part of the country. The stars at night are so close you feel you could reach out and pluck one right out of the sky. The northern aurora borealis (northern lights) dance as if they were at a symphony, moving to the sound of silence or a beat only they can hear.

Then you have the oil and gas companies who cannot be satisfied with destroying the rest of the world with accidents and rigs, pump jacks and blowouts; they have to enter an area as majestic as the far north. Rumbling in over ice roads or shipping equipment into places that they do not belong. Treading forward in the name of supply and demand. Not satisfied with stopping at Alaska or Nunavut, scientists are planning to map out the extreme far north. Going in with icebreakers as far as 350 miles from the North Pole. Breaking up ice that is already melting at an alarming speed due to climate warming.

Geophysicists will focus on collecting sound data to help map the sea floor and using seismic tools to determine sediment thickness. The fight for sovereignty rights is already in the works between the U.S.A and Canada because petroleum-rich Mackenzie River Delta runs into that part of the Beaufort Sea. They say it is for science, yet the fight for oil is already in the works. Right now the USA and Canada will work together, but what will happen when they find it could be the richest oil district in the world? Will it be like the gold rush and everyone runs to stake a claim? Let’s not forget Russia, who is only a stone’s throw from Alaska, they are sure to try to stake claims as well.

Quoting from an article I read recently, “The program seeks to help both nations determine how far north they may extend their sovereignty, a potentially lucrative right in an era of melting Arctic sea ice and worldwide demand for the oil, natural gas and other minerals believed to lie beneath the seafloor.”

Will we lose one of the few majestic areas this planet has to offer? Will the water turn brown as seen in so many other places because of factories, refineries, and pollution created by drilling and wells? What will happen to the sea lions, seals, penguins and other wildlife that inhabit this very country? They rely on the fish in the sea and ocean to live, the very same ones who will become full of ulcers and contaminants from swimming too close to the wells. What will happen when it gets so cold the pipes freeze and crack turning the pristine untouched ice into a block of black sludge, casting a shadow on what once was one of the most beautiful countries on the planet? Will we be willing to rush to the aid of the wildlife at -50 c /- 58 f below or colder, risking frostbite and hypothermia to wash the oil off the seals and sea lions?

The border’s location will not be the concern of scientists, They will focus on collecting sound data to help map the sea floor and using seismic tools to determine sediment thickness. It is up to the diplomats to determine if they will destroy the only untouched oasis we have left.

K. Waters
Writer, Blogger, Mother

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