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Friday, July 6,2012

What can our protected places teach us about saving the Arctic?

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Our national parks have been called “America’s best idea,” and Americans are proud of the special places we have protected for the inspiration and enjoyment of current and future generations. But protected areas from Florida to Alaska face new challenges on a warming planet, and melting sea ice means that a newly vulnerable area — the Arctic — is increasingly threatened by offshore oil drilling and industrial fishing. Protecting the Arctic is emerging as one of the great environmental challenges of our age — so what lessons can we learn from earlier generations who came together and won protection for the parks, sanctuaries, and wildlife refuges that we enjoy today?

As we were making final preparations for our Save the Arctic tour in Alaska, some of the crew from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza had a chance to visit Kenai Fjords National Park, a wild and protected area in southern Alaska where the coastline is punctuated by extraordinary glaciers that empty into a sea dominated by humpback whales, seabirds, orcas, and seals.


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