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• Sierra Club Foundation Protecting the Arctic Refuge

December 17 2018
December 17 2018


“I’ll pick you up next week on a sandbar in the Arctic Ocean," said the Pilot...

And with that, we watched the small prop plane disappear back over the Brooks Range, leaving the eight of us to begin our float trip through one of the most pristine areas on the planet, the  Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For thousands of years, the largest herd of caribou on the planet have raised their calves on this vast coastal plain We had just come from meeting with Gwich’in leaders in Arctic Village where we learned of their symbiotic relationship with the caribou. These animals are also closely linked to the history, culture and very survival of the Gwich’in for thousands of years. As we floated down the glacier fed Hula Hula River towards the Arctic Ocean, we encountered herds of caribou, wolves, grizzly bears, a wolverine(!) and explored an ancient site where Inupiats once lived in sod huts on the shores of the Arctic Ocean.



Dan Chu with colleagues in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

At the end of 2017, the Republican controlled Congress passed the Trump tax reform bill and slipped in  a provision to open up the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas development. Oil exploration could start as soon as next year! In response, Sierra Club Foundation joined with fellow investors to send a letter representing over $2.5 trillion in assets under management to all oil companies and banks urging them to NOT bid on federal oil leases in the Refuge. The letter highlights the significant reputational risks any company would face due to human rights infractions and permanent ecological damage, and the financial risks due to the likelihood that the oil will never come out of the ground and be a stranded asset in a carbon constrained future.

We continue to add investors to this list and would welcome adding your organization as a supporter. Please email me at info if you would like more information on how to sign the letter. For a more in depth story, please check out the latest Sierra Magazine article Last Stand, Last Great Wilderness.


dan chu


-Dan Chu is the Executive Director of The Sierra Club Foundation and a Confluence Board Member


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