Wolf Song of Alaska News

Subverting Science and Robbing Alaska

Letters / Juneau Empire / February 7, 2008

I have written previous letters to the editor in the Juneau Empire as well as articles for my nature photography Web site, the Denali Citizens Council and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

The Palin administration Board of Game has used the excuse of not waiting for a scientifically proven, ecological emergency in justifying its wide ranging aerial wolf and grizzly/black bear killing plans. Yet, a future ecological emergency can be projected for polar bears that leading polar bear biologists and climatologists concur on due to global warming. It appears the state by disputing these expert's findings, wants an ecological emergency before it is willing to do something about it.

The Bush administration has created the template for manipulating, altering, deleting, and/or obscuring scientific findings that the Palin administration is merely following. The continuation of scientific manipulation by political and industry representatives does serious damage to the public, to the environment, and most certainly to the wildlife and people that are dependent upon it.

While the Palin administration continues its fight against a threatened species listing for polar bears with it dubious denials of peer reviewed science, the ice is still melting for the bears and the arctic ecosystem that they, seals, walrus, and other animals and natives are dependent upon.

We are the only species that can project impacts caused by our actions, yet the Palin administration wishes us to ignore these projections due to political, economic, and industry pressures. If they succeed, we and our children can say goodbye to Nanook and the Arctic ecosystem that Nanook is dependent upon.

The costs of ignoring these projections along with their impacts when we were warned by warming temperatures, melting permafrost, melting glaciers and sea ice, more intense fire seasons, habitat degradation and changes in wildlife distribution and habits which is occurring in the present, is lunacy at best.

Being a proper steward of the environment is paying attention to these warnings signs and developing a progressive policy to avoid the nightmare of environmental/economic/esthetic and spiritual consequences that will occur if the arctic sea ice disappears. Such a radical ecosystem change would not be restricted to the arctic and the polar bear's habitat, but all of Alaska would suffer a significant change in its climate that would have a rippling of impacts throughout the state, some of which could be predicted, others could not.

Those politicians and industry representatives, who subvert peer-reviewed science in the name of short-term profits, rob the rest of us and our children of our Alaska heritage and of the Alaska that we love.

Bill Watkins
Anchorage and Denali National Park

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