Three Ways We Can Defend the Arctic from Big Shell Oil.

Via Lynn Hasselberger
on Sep 14, 2012
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In the last 30 years, we’ve lost as much as three-quarters of the floating ice cap at the top of the world.

For over 800,000 years, ice has been a permanent feature of the Arctic ocean. Now, scientists say, the melting is in a ‘death spiral.’ Why should we care? Arctic sea ice keeps the polar regions cool and helps moderate global climate.

Photo: Save the Arctic

According to Save the Arctic:

The sea ice melt is would be not only devastating for the people, polar bears, narwhals, walruses and other species that live there—but for the rest of us too. The ice at the top of the world reflects much of the sun’s heat back into space and keeps our whole planet cool, stabilizing the weather systems that we depend on to grow our food. Protecting the ice means protecting us all.

Big oil couldn’t be happier.

I will be one of those persons most cheering for an endless summer in Alaska.

~ Peter E. Slaiby, vice president of Shell Alaska

In the coming weeks, Shell is due to begin exploratory drilling at two offshore sites in the Alaskan Arctic.

If they’re successful this summer, an Arctic oil rush will be sparked and the push to carve up the region will accelerate.

Shell’s Slaiby said his company could effectively clean up an oil spill in the Arctic with heated booms and in situ burning. The efficacy of those methods, however, remains in doubt in the minds of many, including U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, who served as the federal coordinator for the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I would never be confident [we could handle a major spill],” Zukunft said. “You’ll never get all the oil. It’s just not feasible. But that’s the expectation here.”

~ From National Geographic

(Side note: Shell is the sponsor of National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge initiative.)

I had a chance to ask Mark Terry—United Nations advisor, decorated polar explorer and award-winning documentary filmmaker —what he thought of the situation. He said,

The Arctic’s fragile eco-system is under attack by record-setting changes in our climate. With more than 40 percent of the summer ice gone in the past 30 years, the remaining ice is much thinner and will soon be gone as well. Any kind of commercial activity will aggravate the polar collapse affecting flora, fauna and man.

September 17, 2012 update: Shell suspended drilling due to damage to safety equipment. We need to keep the pressure on.

What we can do:

  1. Sign the petition to declare a global sanctuary in the Arctic. (
  2. Join the Save the Arctic twitter protest here and tweet the livin’ daylights out of your stand against drilling using the hashtag #StopShell. Tell them to keep their f*cking hands off the Arctic.
  3. Share this post far and wide. Email, twitter, facebook, streaking around your neighborhood Shell station—whatever it takes.
Photo: Save the Arctic

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About Lynn Hasselberger

Lynn Hasselberger is co-founder of GDGD Radio; The Green Divas Managing Editor; and Producer of The Green Divas Radio Show. She's also a mom, writer and award-winning cat-herder who lives in Chicagoland. Sunrises, running, yoga, lead-free chocolate and comedy are just a few of her fave things. In her rare moments of spare time, she blogs at and A treehugger and social media addict, you'll most likely find Lynn on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr @GreenDivaLynn & @myEARTH360), instagram and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking. Like her writing? Subscribe to her posts.


2 Responses to “Three Ways We Can Defend the Arctic from Big Shell Oil.”

  1. […] I had just written about the efforts to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic. This victory charged me up—it was proof that our voices really do count. Thank you each and every one of you who signed the petition. Photo: Greenpeace International […]

  2. […] The divestment strategy was successful in pressuring South Africa to end apartheid in the 1990s. McKibben is refocusing this strategy to target environmentalists’ biggest foe: Big Oil. […]