How the Trump Administration Threatens Alaskan Wildlife

Trump Administration’s environmental ignorance led to a climate movement.

“When I think of the havoc Trump has wreaked on the natural world, I think of the voiceless ones who aren’t human. He doesn’t value human life highly unless it benefits him, why would he see non-humans as any different.”

I find it alarming that we are still having the argument surrounding the environment and climate change. How is it not common knowledge that we are ruining our Earth with manmade conquests such as the search for oil, more recreational and residential buildings on the forest grounds and the shrinking of habitats to already dwindling species?

I guess it is better described as being alarming that we know all of these things but allow them to be hidden behind false news and silence in the media altogether. Our leaders are signing bills and selling lands that belong to the wildlife thriving there while telling us that climate change and environmental change are not dangerous. Or, that it is more beneficial than not.

When calculating the pros and cons, are these politicians taking into account the impacts these changes will have upon the wildlife? The Trump administration didn’t seem to care much about these precious lives when selling millions of acres of an Alaskan forest. These politicians working for the administration also didn’t seem to mind when selling millions of acres in the Arctic Alaskan tundra to oil companies for mining efforts.

The Cost Of Timber is the Loss of an Ecosystem

The Tongass National Forest is one of the largest intact temperate rainforests and is found in the great state of Alaska. This forest is known as the “Lungs of North America” as it absorbs 8% of all carbon stored in the lower 48 state's forests.

This national forest has also just been opened up by the Trump Administration for uses such as timber harvest and to take down and remove the forest in order to create roads. 188,000 acres have been devoted to timber harvest and include much of the old-growth forest found in Tongass National Forest.

This national forest is not just home to trees though. Tongass National Forest holds the largest brown bear population in North America. When companies begin harvesting the trees in this forest, these bears will lose their sources of hibernation in the wintertime.

Not to mention, this forest is home to a huge population of wild Pacific salmon and trout. These fish provide the main source of food for said brown bears. When hundreds of men and their machines descend upon this untouched area, what is the cost? Here is a possible scenario.

Our human pollution flows into the water teeming with salmon. As we contaminate this water we begin to cause a shortage in salmon for the brown bears to feed on. These bears, having no other source of major protein, begin to starve to death. How long do you think it takes for human ignorance to alter an entire ecosystem?

Great Enclosed Water Threatened by Administration

Lake Teshekpuk is the largest lake in the Alaskan Arctic. This 320-mile long lake is home to hundreds of thousands of different species of birds who migrate here from five different continents.

These feathery friends include 100,000 geese spanning three different types who use this lake as a resting point while they go through their molting process. Lake Teshekpuk is also home to over 160,000 shorebirds who come here to nest and hatch their young, denning polar bears and over 40,000 native caribou.

This lake that sustains so much life has also been opened up by the Trump administration to oil companies who can lease this land and begin oil extraction. The administration has expanded this area, known as the Alaskan Natural Petroleum Reserve, to an 80% usage capacity regarding oil and gas development. Under Obama-era sanctions, this area was limited to 50% being used for the development of oil and gas.

Aside from the obvious dangers of oil and pollution spills in and around the lake come other dangers to the environment we may not be aware of.

Human garbage and campsites can produce many treats for predators such as gulls and ravens. Bringing these predatory birds to the area of Lake Teshekpuk puts the nesting birds and their young at risk. Also, human activity is stressful to the geese population that uses these lakeshores as their molting grounds. This stress can deplete the energy levels of these geese, energy needed for the molting process, and subsequent migration.

Lastly, the polar bear calls much of the Arctic circle home and Lake Teshekpuk is included in their territory. This species is listed as vulnerable regarding their endangered status and their population is decreasing more and more every year.

Apparently, access to oil is worth more than an entire species in the eyes of our current administration.

“Humanity can no longer stand by in silence while our wildlife are being used, abused and exploited.
It is time we all stand together, to be the voice of the voiceless before it’s too late. Extinction means forever.”
Paul Oxton

And Stand By They Will Not...

The Trump administration has harmed the environment in more ways than this article can fully contain. What he also did is spark the largest youth-led climate change activist movement in history. This administration and the politicians who serve under it were able to anger an entire generation who wouldn’t stand for the destruction of a planet they are set to inherit.

Fridays For Future-This organization of young climate activists began with 15-year-old Greta Thunberg. She began a school strike that was fueled by the Swedish Parliament ignoring the climate crisis. She sat outside the Swedish Parliament every school day to bring awareness to the climate crisis and protest her government's lack of concern regarding the said crisis. This organization now encourages other young activists to strike and protest within their own communities regarding climate change and the climate crisis. One girl inspired the world of young thinkers to fight for a future.

Zero Hour-This organization began with four youth activists who were tired of the inaction being taken by their politicians regarding climate and environmental change. Jamie Margolin, Nadia Nazar, Madelaine Tew, and Zanagee Artis gathered their friends and family and began working on something that adults and politicians could no longer ignore. This was unveiled in July of 2018 as the Youth Climate March in Washington D.C.

These two organizations, and the failure of the Trump administration regarding climate and our environment, has sparked a global movement of youth-led advocacy. These young ones are realizing that the planet they are meant to grow old in may not exist if they do not take action.

Wildlife was never meant to fight off the threats that we as humans bring. We often forget this land we call home is stolen land and was never ours to begin with. The least we can do as we live off this land is to provide refuge and sanctuary in abundance to those who owned this land before us. Fight against the oil industry and their agenda, the timber industry and their agenda, as well as the politicians who make their fights easier.

Use your voice for the voiceless, your mind for the weary, and your strength for the fragile creatures we are harming in the wake of absolute greed. It is said often we only “get” one Earth, rarely mentioning it was never ours to “get.”

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Mental Health Professional by day, writing activist by night. LGBTQIA+ equality, mental health and political injustice-OH MY!

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