Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Saved? Activists Score Victory In Environmental Debate

posted by / News / November 16, 2005

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Your hear it on the news and might not think a whole lot about it. But as surfers, our industry is very dependent upon the oil industry. With the environmentally celebrated decision by The House of Representatives to strip a recent bill of all drilling withing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we thought this might fly under the radar of the surfing world.

SurfingTheMag.com Environment correspondent John Mock checks in to make sure it doesn’t:

Thirty Years this has been an ongoing argument. Drill, don’t drill, long term versus short term, typical political gamesmanship has been played on this issue over and over again. What should all this mean to the surfing community? There’s an awful lot of rhetoric to sift through to get down to the bare bones of it, so let’s make some assumptions before we go too far down the path. First, I’m going to assume that because you are reading this, that you are a surfer. Second, I’m going to assume that you, at some point, travel by car, bus, scooter, or something else that runs on petroleum, that’s it.


Would cold water discoveries like J-Bay even be possible without modern
wetsuits, surfboards and leashes? The answer, quite possibly. is NO.
Over these past 30 years, little effort has been made in the U.S. to put our nation in a position to be energy independent. The political reality of it is, we tend to follow the path of least resistance and so do our elected officials. ANWR is a sound bite, a political debate point, simply an easy way to get around a difficult reality. At some point in the near future petroleum will become scarce. Scarcity causes higher prices, as we learned when Katrina decimated the platforms and refineries on our gulf coast. All of our industry is built around transportation that runs on petroleum as are most of our daily lives. The difficult reality that faces us is the choice, do we accept change, plan for it, invest in strategies to create solutions or do we extend our addiction? Yes, there is oil in ANWR, and I’m sure there are natural gas deposits in the Chesapeake Bay. The question is, how much are you willing to trade for it?

If we open ANWR and our coastal areas to petroleum exploration we accept certain realities. We accept the risk of toxins on our beaches. We accept the risk of damage to our fishing, crabbing, tourism & restaurant industries. We accept the risk of destroying our fragile corrals and sea life. We accept exposing ourselves and our families to these risks. And if we make this choice, in the long term, we still must face making the move away from petroleum, but now we have paid a heavy price for a little more time and cheaper gas.

As surfers we have a connection with the natural world, but we also live in the modern one. Our boards, wetsuits, leashes, all are made from petroleum products. The path of least resistance is short term. We should be thinking in the long term. Alternative fuels, renewable energy, these are the future. Just as all of the world’s industrialized nations converted factories from coal to electricity, from train to truck, we will convert. It’s just a matter of time, money & politics. In my opinion, it’s about time to get started.

Interested in doing something about the environment? Want to help make a difference for future generations? Here is alist of organizations that you can help with their fight to save the environment:World Wildlife Federation – www.WorldWildlife.org
GreenPeace – www.GreenPeace.org
Save The Waves – www.SaveTheWaves.org
Surfrider Foundation – www.Surfrider.org

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