Tell the President to Stop All Arctic Drilling

We need your help. Tell President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Jewell to halt proposed plans to allow drilling in Alaskan waters. Shell recently announced that it is abandoning its Arctic Ocean drilling program. But that’s not enough. Big oil is waiting to snap up new offshore oil and gas leases. Tell the President … Read more

Will the Paris Deal Protect the Most Vulnerable?

On the last day of the Paris Climate Summit, I sat without internet at a related Arctic symposium. The plus side was that I paid attention to the speakers rather than checking my email. The downside was that I sat in suspense, wondering if the long-awaited agreement from the international talks would be announced. I … Read more

The Arctic Offers a Glimpse Into Our Planet’s Future

This past summer an important thing happened in America’s Arctic. President Obama, who previously had only stopped in Alaska to refuel Air Force One, decided to spend some quality time with us to explore our magnificent landscapes. And he fell in love—not only with our jaw-dropping scenery, but also with our vibrant Alaska Native cultures. … Read more

Climate Justice for Coastal Communities

As sea level rises, low-lying coastal communities around the world are facing the prospect of relocation. Some of these communities are on remote islands that many have never heard of. Others may be familiar to Americans from the west coast of Alaska and Washington State, and from the bayous of Louisiana. Many of these communities … Read more

The Elephant in the Room in Paris

It’s no small irony that many of the small island nations most at risk from rising sea levels such as the Marshall Islands are also some of the foremost countries for ship registries. Called by some the “elephant in the room,” meaningful commitments to reduce emissions from shipping are critical to containing climate change. Shipping … Read more

Big Win: President Obama Stops Arctic Drilling

In a stunning development this week, President Obama announced that he is cancelling upcoming oil and gas lease sales for Arctic waters off the coast of Alaska. And, in a companion move, the Department of the Interior denied requests by Shell and Statoil to extend the leases they already hold in the Arctic Ocean. These … Read more

Arctic Ocean and Wildlife Warrant Special International Protection

Co-authored by Alex Levinson and Kevin Harun, Pacific Environment First published in High North News and Huffington Post Imagine traveling seas beset by hurricane force winds, extreme waves, poorly charted waters, and long seasons of darkness. Where calls for help may not be readily answered. Now, imagine pristine seas where exotic wildlife, some traveling great … Read more

Arctic Peoples and Wildlife Receive Unique, Historic Protection

Today, we celebrate a historic win for the Arctic, its wildlife, and its peoples. After years of negotiations, at 9 a.m. London time, the international community agreed to establish some special protections for this magnificent region. The new laws, known as the Polar Code, forbid ships traversing the Arctic to dump garbage, sewage, and oil … Read more

Our Top 7 Wins of 2014

It has been a banner year for us and our local partners on the frontlines of environmental justice around the Pacific Rim. Here are seven accomplishments I’m especially proud of; they would not have been possible without your support.   Preserving Untouched Wilderness The Russian Far East is a region of unparalleled wilderness, rich in … Read more

New Strategies for Conservation Success in Russia

Russia’s Far East and Arctic are regions of unparalleled wilderness, rich in biodiversity and vast intact ecosystems. The region is also home to dozens of indigenous cultures, endangered wildlife, and forests so vast they are only rivaled by the Amazon’s. Over the past two years, Pacific Environment has worked with dozens of community leaders, conservationists, … Read more

25 Years Later: Did We Learn Anything from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill?

This year’s traditional Iditarod dog sled race began, as usual, with great excitement along the snowy streets of my hometown, Anchorage, Alaska. Dogs yelped and cried, straining their harnesses, eager to leap into the air and run. Meanwhile, we Alaskans, dressed in bright, traditional parkas, were packed tightly on the sidewalks surrounding the staging areas. … Read more

Creating a Strong Polar Code Is Our Priority

We all know climate change is having a huge impact here in the northland – and with it the Arctic Ocean is changing rapidly. Arctic sea ice is disappearing fast. Credible research now suggests that the Arctic may be ice free during the summer as early as this decade —84 years earlier than previously predicted … Read more

Shell Abandons Plan for Drilling in Arctic Seas

Yesterday, the CEO of Shell Oil announced sharply lower earnings and canceled plans to try to drill in Arctic seas off the coast of Alaska.  While couched in terms of a temporary decision applying only to this summer’s drilling season, the actual press announcement by the company had the feel of a more dramatic change … Read more

Protecting the Arctic Means Protecting Its People

With climate change melting Arctic ice at an ever alarming rate, we know big changes are in store for this pristine environment. But what impact will the big meltdown have on people? I have talked with climatologists who say that one big impact will be erratic weather. High pressure tends to center over the coldest … Read more

A Win in Our Fight Against Dangerous Oil Spill Chemicals

Pacific Environment often opposes poorly planned oil drilling because of the grave risk of oil spill disasters. But it turns out even the clean-up can cause ecological and human disaster. Right now toxic chemicals can be used to clean up oil spills in U.S. waters. In the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill … Read more

The Arctic: The New Wild West

Centuries ago, European settlers stumbled upon the New World, a pristine world teaming with wildlife and abundance. Immediately the race was on to exploit these resources which were thought to be limitless. We now know what happened to the great northern forests, the prairie, the buffalo and the Native Americans who depended on the environment … Read more

Why is the U.S. Okay with Trashing the Arctic?

When you throw a piece of trash from your car window, or get rid of your old computer in the woods anywhere in the United States, you’re violating littering or dumping laws, and chances are that you’d have to pay a fine if caught red-handed. But when it comes to the Arctic, our representatives think it’s okay to let … Read more

Ship Traffic Threatens Arctic

Climate change is melting the Arctic ice cap at an alarming rate. As the ice recedes, it gives way to new new sea routes—setting the stage for a dramatic increase in ship traffic that threatens the subsistence lifestyles of indigenous peoples and the health of the Arctic environment. Why should we care that more oil tankers, cargo … Read more