Welcome back to a new blog.
We hope you enjoyed Green Week at MCC and learned at least one new thing during the week. We will still do something to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, of course, but we thought it might be too hot to have too many outdoor activities going on that day, which is why we celebrated early.
We are coming up on Earth Hour this Saturday, March 27, at 8:30pm regardless of your time zone. The website for Earth Hour (http://www.myearthhour.org/home) describes it like this: "On Earth Hour, hundreds of millions of people around the world will come together to call for action on climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour. The movement symbolizes that by working together, each of us can make a positive impact in this fight, protecting our future and that of future generations." Some people think, "Who cares if we all turn off the lights for one hour?". But just remember, the concept is just a symbol of how each of us, all working together, can bring about change.
Mother Nature has two big anniversaries this year to celebrate. One of them is the 50th Anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is a 20 million acre area (the largest protected area in America) in northern Alaska that was set aside in 1960 to protect arctic ecosystems and wildlife. But as many of you know, even more oil and gas development is desired that will infringe upon the refuge, which will in turn threaten the ecosystems. There are already oil wells and the Trans-Alaska pipeline in that area, and with that comes 'incidents'. Like what? Well, according to the Northern Alaska Environmental Center (http://www.northern.org/), "Each year, there is a toxic spill a day -- and over 453 spills each year -- on average, from the oil and gas industry on Alaska’s North Slope, according to a new analysis and map derived from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s spill database for 1996 to 2008. There were a total of 5,895 spills with 2.7 million gallons spilled of 40 hazardous and toxic substances caused by operations of the North Slope oil fields, pipelines, and exploratory activities during the past 13 years. Over 500 spills were recorded for each of the two most recent years. Hundreds of toxic spills took place in offshore fields and exploration in the Beaufort Sea, including at Endicott (109 spills) and Northstar (148 spills)." So, let's look at the size of just one of the five oil fields in the North Slope of Alaska. Prudhoe Bay Oil Field is just over 213,000 acres; it is the largest in America, the other four in northern Alaska are much smaller. So in that few hundred thousand acres, they have that many oil spills. Now, consider that the government wants to take 1.5 million acres away from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in order to drill for more oil. Imagine how many more oil spills the wildlife and ecosystem will have to deal with! And for what? A small amount of oil (compared to what they get from Alaska now) that won't even be available to access or use for another 20 years. I would hope that in 20 years we have found a RENEWABLE resource to use for fuel and we no longer rely on the limited oil the world has to offer.