San Francisco—(ENEWSPF)—November 16, 2010. With the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge approaching on December 6, the Sierra Club launched a campaign today calling on President Obama to declare the Arctic Refuge a National Monument.
“Americans love the Arctic Refuge. They’ve shown again and again that they want to see it protected,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. “A National Monument designation would reflect the Refuge’s value as one of America’s last great wild places. It would help ensure that we pass it down to our children and grandchildren. This is President Obama’s chance to leave a legacy.”
The Sierra Club’s “Arctic Love” campaign includes a new website featuring an interactive card that people can personalize and send to President Obama. It also includes online advertising, outreach to millions of activists, and nationwide house parties celebrating the anniversary.
The coastal waters, rolling tundra, wild rivers, wetlands, ponds, and deep lakes of the Arctic support a stunning array of wildlife. Nearly 200 bird species nest on the tundra and wetlands, while caribou, musk oxen, wolverines, and grizzlies roam the vast expanses of wild lands.
“In the decades since Alaska’s Arctic Refuge was created, its wildlife have narrowly escaped the oil industry’s relentless efforts to drill,” Brune said. “Now we have a chance to keep Big Oil from destroying the Refuge forever.”
In addition to threats from oil drilling, the Arctic’s animals are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Thanks to global warming, average temperatures are rising twice as fast in the Arctic as elsewhere the world, with devastating effects not only on sea ice, but also on tundra, permafrost, and forests. Rising temperatures increase the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires, and are already causing insect outbreaks in tundra and forests.
“By protecting the Arctic Refuge, President Obama will give caribou, bears, and other wildlife a fighting chance in the face of climate change,” Brune said.
Safeguarding the Arctic Refuge is a priority for the Sierra Club’s Resilient Habitats Campaign, devoted to helping wildlife and wild places adapt to and survive global warming. To learn more, visit www.sierraclub.org/habitat