The Arctic is a spectacular place—both beautiful and abundant. Home to Indigenous people, unique wildlife and wide-open expanses of wilderness, the Arctic is awe-inspiring whether you’ve visited or not.
But, Arctic people and wildlife are facing rapid and dramatic environmental changes as climate change hits this important ecosystem … ocean waters warming at unprecedented rates … seasonal ice cover diminishing and permafrost thawing … waters becoming more acidic … coastal erosion increasing … Alaska villages being forced to relocate.
We can all be part of the solution to help protect Arctic waters. No matter where we live, the Arctic affects us all. The Arctic helps control the flow of our atmosphere and ocean, regulating our climate and affecting our weather.
The Arctic needs you. Because, frankly, we need the Arctic.
Here are six ways YOU can help, from the comfort of your home.
1. Learn about the Indigenous people of the Arctic.
The Arctic has been home to the Iñupiat, Central Yup’ik, Cup’ik, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Aleut, Saami and Chukchi since time immemorial. Despite a history of colonization, disease, forced relocation and a series of policies specifically designed to take away Indigenous languages and cultures, and continued systemic racism today, Arctic Indigenous peoples continue their traditional practices and to fight for their human rights. Learn more from Indigenous organizations including Inuit Circumpolar Council, First Alaskans Institute and Native American Rights Fund.
2. Dive in and explore the wildlife of Arctic waters.
The Arctic is home to animals found nowhere else on Earth. When it comes to biodiversity, Arctic marine wildlife are some of the most fascinating. Unparalleled in their distinct tailoring to this northerly area, many of the local residents of the animal kingdom call the Arctic—and only the Arctic—their home. There’s an abundance of wildlife in the Arctic—including Arctic terns, crested auklets, bowhead whales, ringed seals, walruses and narwhal.
3. Stay home.
In addition to stopping the spread of COVID-19, the simple act of staying home is helping the Arctic too. By driving less, flying less and using less fossil fuel, you are helping to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, and reducing emissions that contribute to climate change will help the Arctic in the long run.
4. If you enjoy seafood, make sure it’s sustainable.
As many of us are spending more time shopping in the grocery store and trying out new recipes in our kitchens, it is important to make informed purchases. Americans are fortunate to have some great sustainable options for local and U.S. caught seafood especially from Alaska! Cooking more U.S. wild-caught seafood at home is a great way to help support fishermen and the fishing industry. It is another simple, yet impactful way to make a difference.
5. Take action to help keep dirty fuels out of Arctic waters.
Increased vessel traffic in the Arctic means a greater risk of oil pollution in the region. The most common fuel used by large vessels in the Arctic is heavy fuel oil (HFO) and associated blends—the world’s dirtiest fuel. Take action by telling regulators to make the HFO ban stronger to safeguard Arctic people and wildlife that depend on oil-free waters.
6. Make a donation.
You don’t need to live in the Arctic to be an advocate for Arctic waters. You can support the Arctic with a gift to Ocean Conservancy today. Your donation supports our fight to prevent the weakening of regulations that protect the Arctic. From the Arctic Circle to the halls of Congress, we’re working every day to protect vital Arctic ocean ecosystems.
As we all continue to look for ways to help during these unprecedented times, I find comfort in knowing that there are still ways to get involved to help protect the future of the Arctic.
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