The Arctic is not a barren, frozen wasteland. It’s home to some of the most unique ecosystems in the world. More than this: it’s home to people. Those people are at the center of the controversy over drilling for oil in the Arctic. The Trump administration is now starting the formal process of selling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil companies, according to the New York Times. The move comes after the Trump administration opened the refuge for oil drilling in August 2020. There are potentially billions of dollars in untapped oil and gas reserves in the Arctic. But, there is value in keeping the region untouched, too. The Arctic provides more than $281 billion per year in fishing, oil, mineral extraction, tourism and climate stabilization services, according to a preliminary assessment done in 2016 by environmental economist Tanya O’Garra, who worked at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University at the time the research was conducted.
“Nature reveals itself to us in unique ways, if we stop and look at the world through a window of time,” says photographer Stephen Wilkes. Using a special photographic technique that reveals how a scene changes from day to night in a single image,
Wilkes exposes the Earth’s beautiful complexity and the impacts of climate change — from the disruption of flamingo migrations in Africa to the threat of melting ice — with unprecedented force. This performance was part of the Countdown Global Launch on 10.10.2020.
(Watch the full event here: https://youtu.be/5dVcn8NjbwY.)
Countdown is TED’s global initiative to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. The goal: to build a better future by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, in the race to a zero-carbon world.
In the biggest climate commitment made by any nation, China pledged to go carbon neutral by 2060. While it will be challenging for Beijing to achieve its goal, China’s plan to become a green superpower will have ripple effects around the world.
Illustration: Crystal Tai